Technology is getting more and more nano-, faster and readily available to all. On one trip to India, I was shocked to see that even the poor rickshaw drivers carried cell phones and didn’t hesitate to talk and drive. Technology and advancements are great and necessary but can we admit that we have become all consuming and addicted to our gadgets and gismos that we’ve forgotten common courtesies and general, social etiquette. We’ve forgotten to enjoy “the moment” and have the need to be “in touch” all the time, anywhere and everywhere, forgetting the little things that matter. We are becoming a nation of ADHD adults who don’t know what to do with a few minutes of silence or free moment of time.
Women’s purses, or pocketbooks as they call them on Long Island, have become bigger and heavier and cell phones have become so much slimmer and lighter that I usually scramble trying to find mine in my big monstrous bag. I remember my very first cell phone, which was about the size of a brick. All I could do on it was…well …talk. Today cell phones are our lifelines, our windows to our world. I’ve known people who’ve lost their phones and it was as if they lost a dear loved one. With texting, GPS-ing, emailing, web browsing, videoing and picture taking capabilities, that cell phones have become such an essential, fundamental part of most people’s lives. From my perspective, we are becoming, unfortunately, technologically advanced but socially deficient.
We teach our children about manners, proper behavior and social etiquette but somehow adults think themselves exempt from what they preach. We tell our children to use “inside voices” yet we’ve all seen adults roaring on the phone as if the world cares to hear what they have to say. We tell kids to say “excuse me” when they bump into someone yet I see people texting and walking, not caring who they elbowed out of the way. One of the most shameful and deplorable social faux pas I have had the displeasure of witnessing was at a dinner party. Inquisitive, or should I say nosey, as to what was captivating this woman’s attention and keeping her from mingling with the company, I leaned over, only to see that rather than socialize, she was actually playing video games on her Blackberry!!! I guess she figured we were too ignorant, or drunk, to notice because she held the phone under the table.
Incidences such as the one above are inexcusable but there are other blatant indiscretions occurring all the time. I’m sure many people have gone out to dinner or lunch with someone who can’t be torn away from their Blackberry or I Phone. It’s right beside them, on the table. Do we not tell our children, “No toys at the dinner table”? Now, if the kids are at home with a babysitter, or there are elderly parents at home that may need tending to, I can understand. Or if the hubby is at home watching the kids and he’s pretty clueless in this capacity, I get it. You’d better be ready to rescue the hubby and tell him where the diapers are! But if you made special time to go out with someone, then answering phone call from others is just plain rude and disrespectful. Most adults realize this and get clever. You’ve heard people say, “I have to take this call. It’s really important. It”ll just take a second. ” Well about 3 “important” calls later, the other person should have the right to say, sure take that call. In fact, take it all the way to your car. Maybe then you can call them and actually have a conversation!
Our technology is making us asocial. Rather than actual face-to-face interactions , we thrive on communicating with people via cyberspace. Rather than enjoying the moment at a soccer game, recital, weddings, church or wherever, people are texting, emailing, commenting on Facebook updates or updating their own Facebook statuses as to where they are what they are doing. Is time with friends and family no longer valuable or sacred that the cells can’t be switched off or put aside for a brief moment?