I’m shallow. Perhaps that’s more than a bit of an understatement from someone who has been writing a blog about said condition for nigh on three years. And if you’ve been with me for all or even some of this time I suppose that to some extent at least, you have come to know about me and my ways. As such, I am sure you would concur when I say I do my best to accept life as it comes, let bygones be bygones and live and let live. What you might not know is that I am an avid observer of human behaviour. Let’s face it. Anyone who spends as much time as I do sitting on a patio sipping lattes ought to notice something about humankind. And as much as I hate to admit it, I have become quite bothered of late by what appears to me to be an ever growing problem shared not by a few, but by the vast majority of people I have encountered in not one but many situations. Having thought about it for some time, I have decided to use this medium of mine, limited as it may be, to share (some might say vent) my feelings on this rather troubling phenomenon. So fair warning…this is gonna be a rant.
Here’s the thing. Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, whether walking on the beach, driving down the road, shopping for (let’s just say) a bar of soap, or enjoying that heretofore mentioned latte, people are on the phone. And if they’re not actually talking on it, texting on it, or taking pictures (primarily of themselves for some reason I hesitate to try to explain) with it, they simply have it in their hand. In fact it is a rarity these days to actually see someone without a phone. The thing has become ubiquitous. Never mind the notion that future generations will be born without a baby toe because, as we all know, who really needs that? All things being equal, if we continue on our current trajectory, I figure future iterations of this species of ours will be born with special little grooves on our dominant hand into which we can permanently slip our miniature talking devices. But back to the point. How did phones, of all things, become such an insidious and, from where I sit, annoying aspect of our lives? How is it that we have become so dominated by this comparatively new, in the scheme of things, piece of technology? How is it that we have let them take over?
Get ready, because I’m just going to go ahead and say it. In the “good ol’ days” when you were out you were out. Business was business and pleasure was pleasure. Now no one knows what’s what anymore because you have your phone. You’re walking down the beach, the sky and water are a brilliant shade of turquoise blue, not a cloud in the sky, the cool wet sand is cushioning each and every step you take, waves are crashing against the shore, rocks glistening in the sun, but do you notice? No. You’re on the phone talking to some shmo’ who got stuck at the office on the weekend because he spent so much time answering emails that he couldn’t get his work done and now he needs you to help him out. And he knows you can because you have your phone.
In the good ol’ days when you sat down to eat you inhaled the delicate smells of the freshly cooked meal in front of you, admired the array of colours artistically arranged on the plate making each part of the meal look more appetizing than the next, wondered where to start and which succulent bite you wanted to experience first. Now when that meal comes to your table you take out your phone and take a picture of what you imagine will be a most delicious treat and then, before reaching for your fork, you post that picture on Facebook so that I can see what you are not, at least at that moment, eating. And here’s the thing. No matter how good that picture looks, no matter how delectable that meal appears to be, I’m still going to be chowing down on yesterday’s leftovers which I might decide to warm up if, and that’s a big if, I can find the energy to do so.
Just one more so bear with me please. In the good ol’ days when you were driving that’s pretty much all you were doing. Sure, you might be listening to a few tunes on the radio, singing along to some “oldies but goodies” on that easy listening station you favour, and the kids might be bickering in the back seat, the sounds of their chiding almost driving you to distraction but you keep your eyes peeled on that road because the kids are in the backseat. Now, sitting at a red light looking over to the person in the hot rod next to me, invariably they are on the phone. And if they’re not talking on it they’re texting that all important two line message to someone who is likely in another car doing the very same thing. Apparently that $20.00 fine they face down here just doesn’t seem to make a difference but perhaps the day they wrap that car around a tree, or even worse, yours or my car around a tree, will.
Right about now you might be thinking “What’s with the shallow gal? What’s her problem? I like my phone.” And here’s the thing. I like my phone too but let me just be bold and say it. Just because you and I like our phones doesn’t mean that we don’t have a problem. And just because I’m shallow doesn’t mean I’m not going to say that we do.