Remember back in the day, when you ‘d go to a restaurant, and if you found yourself to be the first of your party to arrive, you had to wait at the bar — alone? You looked around. You watched other people having fun or in intimate conversations. You glanced at your watch. It was a little bit painful, especially if you were waiting on a date, or a professional contact you’d never laid eyes on. There was a vulnerability to it.
I worry that these transitional moments, or any moment when in the past we might have had to sit in our own presence, have been hijacked by our devices. We either find ourselves feeling pressed to be productive in EVERY POSSIBLE SECOND, or worse, feel that in moments when we could be pausing/breathing/observing, that we should at least look like we have something to do. If I’m at a party, and feel uninterested or introverted, my phone provides a paradise of relief and distraction. But, that’s kind of bullsh$t, right? What a copout.
I’m worried that no one knows how to be bored or clumsy or awkward anymore. In fact I’m thinking the younger generation is missing a litany of other sufferings that make for a multi-dimensional person, and we (elders) are cheating ourselves out of some unexpected epiphanies that come from choosing (actively) to do something in real time/real life — even when we could be swiping/checking/responding.
Just like actors used cigarettes as a storytelling device, and regular people used them as a social wingman, so must we view our phones for what they’ve become; something to do….when we need something to do.
But I think we may be missing out. Imagine the people we might meet or cool things we might witness or conversations we might overhear or character we might build…by not looking down and disappearing into an alternate, easier universe at the first possible discomfort?
We might have to actually live with ourselves and all our confronting humanity. Huh.