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.