“Hello?” I call to the nothingness behind the counter of my local bakery. Moments later a white starch toque-covered head pops from the far corner of the glass display. Cheeks slightly reddened, the gal quickly drops her iphone to the counter and stands to attend to me.
Have you ever felt like a second rate citizen as a real person? In our techno obsessed culture the small glowing screen seems to trump the real flesh and blood features of a human being.
Friday evening at the local coffee shop, I stroll to my table behind the lead of the hostess. I casually scan the booths filled with hungry folks. What are most of them doing? Yup–their nose is in their phone, fingers texting away. Um…did they forget that a large part of the joy of eating out is the face time with the people you presumably like enough to bring along?
Cut off again as I try to change lanes on the street leading to the grocery store, my indicator clearly blinking, I look to the offending driver. Are their hands firmly planted on the steering wheel. Yeah, but there is a phone wedged in one of them. I’d like to say she had a sheepish look on her face, but she still is unaware of my existence.
How did we survive driving from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ before mobile devices? Our private worlds did not collapse in those ten minutes or even a few hours of time on the road. Third world countries remained on the map. Bank accounts were not emptied because we had not checked our balance in half a day. Neighbors believed that we still lived and breathed. Our significant other breathed easily in the knowledge that we too had other things to do in life than to be in continual communication with them.
Do I own a cell phone? Yes. A plain vanilla flip phone that *gasp* allows me to make phone calls. I can’t play Angry Birds, shoot the guy stealing my virtual car, text without pushing the same few number keypad buttons hundreds of times to get out a simple phrase, listen to top 40 tunes or share last year’s ten thousand holiday pictures. But I can press 911 if my car breaks down or call home if I am going to be late–when I have stopped the car to get gas.
Anything else can wait. Believe me.
When I sit across the table at a restaurant from someone I have not seen in too long or a family member with whom I crave presence, the last thing on my mind is to text my colleague at work or the dry cleaners to see if my laundry is ready. I would need my reading glasses to see the blast tiny letter, sure, but that is not the reason.
Eyes are the window to the soul, so says the traditional proverb. If that is true, how can we possibly garner the nuance of emotion, the depth of feeling or the state of mind of the person upon whose eyes we gaze—unless we look at them? No techno device on earth can covey a flash of sadness, a spark of interest, a weary glint or the unabashed warmth of love that does the human face.
Am I a low tech girl in a high tech world??—glad to be and proud of it.