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.02 *

I confess to not owning a hand-held communication device, portable data center, or personal digital assistant. There, I’ve said it, come out of the Luddite closet. After a 20-minute flight from Seattle to Victoria recently, people nearby could barely wait for the seatbelt sign to come off to open their devices to … what? check that the world was still in the mess it had been less than half an hour ago? see what urgent decisions awaited their input? reply to any of “60 sweet messages to send your boy/girlfriend but can’t think of what to say, so here’s a list“?

What’s happening to plain conversations between two people — you know, they kind involving eye contact, occasional pauses, close listening, and actual presence? What makes people walk down the street with eyes and thumbs focused on a tiny screen, quite possibly ‘communicating’ with someone walking right next to them? What happened to listening to what’s naturally around us — a birdsong perhaps — instead of electronic sounds coming from earphones? And have we abandoned privacy and courtesy as we subject others to every shouted word on our cell phones?

No wonder there’s so much stress in the world, why ADHD and ADD are rampant among children, why the Art of Conversation and Simple Silence have become such quaint concepts.

Phew! Glad to get that off my chest.

* .02 = texting abbreviation for “my (your) 2 cents worth,” but you already knew that.


6 responses »

  1. thankyou Peter for expressing my same thoughts and feelings and no, I didn’t know what 0.02 meant ?!

    • hey susan — we’re a dying breed. i’m thinking of getting 2 tin cans and connect them with a string. we could play telephone tag. just signed up to Skype: my 3 and 6-yr old goddaughters are dragging me into the 21st C. :-)p

  2. hmmmm! Ya curmudgeonly ole luddite poop! haha Anyone ever tell you you look just like leonard cohen? Maybe this is the stuff all your fellow travelers are scrambling to get at? thanks for the smile.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with you, but in defense of the passengers, whenever I turn on my phone after a flight it’s to make sure whomever’s waiting for me is at the airport or to let them know I’ve arrived.

  4. I’m in two minds. Often mediated communication allows me to relieve myself of layers of niceties and tensions that accompany embodied encounters. Typing in a chat room can really stimulate me to pay attention to the effort of communication itself, which is something.

    On the whole though, cell phones p me off pretty badly.


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