I can not understand the need to be constantly attached to a cell phone. Why would anyone want to be available at all times? Is personal down time becoming a thing of the past?
I admit to a desire for this little device to use as a phone. However I had no idea of the complexity of what we thought science fiction for Dick Tracy. It was our children who recognized the need for we “senior citizens” to have an iPhone. We were to make sure it was always charged, a habit that required an adjustment to my memory. But in time I appreciated the pick of choice according to the urgency of the message – phone, text or e-mail. I thought it so cool when sending a photo from the store to my daughter of a possible new chair and receiving a thumbs up in a minute or two.
Not long ago I took an extra “run” to our local super market. One of those where they give customers maps to find their way – especially newbies. I hardly ever make that extra jog during busy times, but heaven forbid we run out of canned chicken chucks in creamy gravy for Miss Kitty. I always look before crossing to the parking lot even though the pedestrian walkway is well marked. In our area, walkers have the right of way. “STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS” signs flank each end of all the walks. Glad that evening I hesitated for a woman sped through talking on her phone with nary an awareness of me. I thought of the ‘Chicago’ song “Cellophane Man”.
I sat in the car for a few minutes and thought of two other close calls. I saw a mother start across with a shopping bag in one hand with a toddler hanging on to the bag. In her free arm she carried an infant while talking on a cellphone that was cradled between her shoulder and ear. With her precious cargo, she walked into the street never looking one way or the other. Now that would not have riled me so if I had not recently seen an other event. This time it was a Dad pushing a loaded cart with one hand while holding his cell in the other as he chatted away. In the bright red plastic “car” attached to the front were two tow headed little boys busy turning their bright yellow steering wheels. The Dad looked neither way and casually crossed. That makes two possible tragedies caused by inattentiveness in turn caused by their cell. Perhaps the calls seemed important – but as important as the children?
We hear of accidents all the time caused by cell phone use in cars. Then there’s the man who was so into his conversation that he walked right off the subway platform and fell to the tracks. At least he didn’t blame the transportation authority like the woman who wanted to sue the mall because she fell mid conversation into a fountain in the middle of the floor. Guess the fountain should not have been there. Yes, this is one of my “preachy blogs”.
But there are more reasons where I feel constant cell use is harmful. How do young people learn social skills they will need for future employment when they never look each other in the eye. I watched a teen couple on either side of a small round table at a food court really enjoying their cells until I realized they were texting each other. I saw three small children sitting on the same couch yet not aware of each other. They were playing with their small video games and didn’t hear us calling them to dinner. Guess that’s practice for their future cellular connections.
I watch my neighbor’s granddaughter come and go talking constantly on her cell. Never seen her without it. What’s next? Cells grafted to hands at birth so they are always there? Could we be losing our next generations of creative artists – writers. To be inspired, you need to see and listen to the world around you. Not what is coming through the thin piece of electronics in your hand but from the sights and sounds in the trees, at the shore, sunsets and sunrise – ad finitum.
I could go on. But you get the picture. I am not against the marvels (to me) that have become part of our life. I write on a laptop, am part of the social network, enjoy the friends I have met via twitter and Facebook. But as you grow older, you realize life is such a fleeting thing that wasting time on what can be shown on a tiny screen is nothing like being part of the whole. Feel the sun on your face, hear the laughter of children, smell the roses as they say, talk face to face, eye to eye and remember, nothing beats a hug.
Don’t become of victim of Nomophobia.