Charged but unplugged

blogIMG_7001You might say I’m a little charged up as I write this.

Everywhere I look there’s something that needs charged.  As I sit in our home office at the desktop computer, wires and cables snake their way around this desk. 

Electrical outlets abound in our house and most of them have some item or another plugged into them. Lamps, televisions, TV cable boxes, DVD players, and (gasp!) we even still use a VCR.  Appliances – refrigerator, stove, freezer, coffee maker, toaster, mixer, Nutri Bullet, – all of these get their juice from electrical outlets.

Then there are the electronics that need constant re-charging – cell phones, ipad, Kindle, hubby’s MP3 player, laptop computers, cameras, the list goes on and on.

We’re wired at our house even though some items claim to be wireless. 

So yes, I am charged.  But not the way you may think.

Before I explain, let me state that I am truly grateful for electricity and the ability to charge up and use our devices when we need them. All it takes to realize you’re dependent on electricity is for the power to go out. And then we’re oh, so thankful for all of those power linemen who go out in inclement weather to restore the charge we need.

So yes, being charged up is good in that instance.  But I’m charged up because I think we are overly-charged. We are too wired.  We are too plugged in and I think we need to pull the plug.

Let me explain.

This past weekend, we fortunately did not receive the nor’easter blizzard that crippled quite a large area of the East Coast.  Only a few inches of snow fell in our area – the worst was south and east of us.

So Friday evening, even though it was snowing a bit but not more than we are accustomed to, daughter and I decided to meet Papa after his work day was finished for dinner at a restaurant in the city where his office is located.

Dinner hour already in full swing, the restaurant was crowded when we arrived before Papa did.  Lots of people hovered around waiting for a table and for the hostess to call their names. We asked her how long the wait was – 30 minutes – and proceeded to queue up with all the others after she noted our name and how many were in our dining party.

No room inside, we stood in the outer entrance of the restaurant waiting our turn with several other patrons. I pulled my cell out, called Papa to tell him that we had arrived and the wait was 30 minutes, so he didn’t need to hurry too much from the errands he was running.

Then I placed my cell phone back in my purse…where it stayed. I use my cell for three things: phone calls, texting my kids and friends, and snapping an occasional photo or video. That’s it.

Call me an old fogey, a dinosaur, I don’t care.  To me, real life is more important than sticking my nose in a cell phone to read tweets, Facebook, play games, whatever.

In a short while, some seating in a waiting area inside, which was much warmer, became available so daughter and I moved to that nook of the establishment. Once seated, I do what I normally do in a public place.  I started looking around. 

I am a people watcher, an observer.  It’s what I do and you never know when you might receive some good blogging fodder.

Ah, now you might be getting my drift.

Folks kept arriving for dinner, so the waiting line continued to grow.  In the small seating area where we were, I glanced around at my fellow hungry patrons and that’s when something hit me like a ton of bricks. No, not literally.  Figuratively.

I couldn’t count how many folks were milling around the inside doorway or waiting in the outer entrance but my guess was 30-35 people. I began counting how many people were either sitting or standing nearby us just in our small waiting area.

I counted 10 human beings around me, including daughter and myself. And out of those 10, no one was talking even though some were with another person – a married couple, friends, family. No one came in alone.

I noticed immediately that the reason they were not conversing was because every one of those nine other people, including my daughter, had their eyes glued to their cell phones.  Every. Single. Person. But me.

I leaned over to my daughter and whispered my revelation to her. She shrugged her shoulders and continued to scroll through something on her cell.

Nine out of ten people were plugged into their phones. Nine out of ten! And they weren’t teenagers but instead ranged in age from their 20’s to some grey-haired folks who looked older than me.

Seriously, what is so important or so mind-boggling that you can’t be without it for just a few minutes? Our cell phones. 

Like electricity, cell phones are a great invention. I’m grateful for mine so I can get in touch quickly with family when we’re apart. They help us be safe; I can remember times before the age of cell phones when I certainly could have used one.

But just like anything, it’s how we use them and whether we allow them to take over our lives. Because they can and they do.

You know we talk so much about addiction – addiction to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, pornography – but have we considered how addicted we humans are to that little electronic device? 

We are wired, folks. And it’s an addiction. Do we really need to be plugged into our cells 24/7? This quote maybe says it all: 

“The cell phone has become the adult’s transitional object, replacing the toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging.” ~ Margaret Heffernan

Really?? This truly has me charged up. And vowing to become more unplugged than ever before. And encouraging others to do the same. 

We’re missing out on life, on real face-to-face conversations with ones we love, on observing and enjoying our surroundings, on so many worthwhile activities that truly enhance our time here on earth.

But instead, we stare at a little screen held in our hands.

If that doesn’t scare you, nothing will.

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.” ~ Steven Spielberg

©2016 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

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24 responses

  1. I agree! I have a cell phone which is normally in the “off” position even when I’m actually in cell phone range. I found when I was on the fire department that most emergency calls are from cell phones, especially in vehicle accidents and therefore can be valuable.

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    • Definitely, cell phones have their value especially when it comes to emergencies. Like you, I’m not always available on my cell. It’s not attached to my body like so many others seem to be. Often, it’s sitting in my purse and I don’t even hear it. Oops.

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  2. When I see grown people ignoring those around them (especially young mothers/fathers with children/babies) in favour of their cellphones, I want to slap the darn things right out of their hands. They are missing important moments, conversations, and connections. It honestly makes me sick! We’re becoming immune to the world around us – for for WHAT? Absolutely nothing that is important! I wish the darn things had never been invented!

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  3. Yes! Thank you. I was just pondering this topic yesterday. You have expressed my sentiments so well. My attitude toward my cell phone is the same as yours….I appreciate it, but I do not attend to it every hour of the day. It’s so nice to know someone else feels as I do…..but I do think we are outnumbered!

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    • I appreciate your comment so very much, Lynn. It IS good to know there are others out there who agree with me about the cell phone “addiction.” And unfortunately, I think you’re right, we are outnumbered. Thank you for stopping by Mama’s Empty Nest! 🙂

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  4. Funny you should write about this.. I just unplugged myself from fb…It was hard to do and have done it before and went back.. and have wavered. Lots of good stuff, some pictures of my grandchildren and some other nice people I have met, but I felt that I was on overload from all of the negativity.. I may go back but I need a long rest and will pray before I make any decisions…

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    • Good for you, Mother Hen! I’ve unplugged FB several times in the past too. The one thing that keeps me going back to it is that it enables me to keep in contact with many far-away friends, and that’s honestly, the only reason I keep it. But I’ve vowed to not log in every day and when I do not spend more than a few minutes on it. It’s definitely an addicting time-sucker! I agree we do need to take time away from it to rest and plug into God’s Word instead. Praying about the decision to go back to social networking is a very wise thing to do. I applaud you!! Thank you so much for your comment.

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      • I know what you mean. I do have children on it and with the occasional photo, it is wonderful. What happened is that I acquired friends through friend requests and some do not give the time of day.. not sincere and then we all have opinions and it just felt out of control and then I felt bad about unfriending, but then is the option of unfollowing and you end up not having to read their stuff. If and when I go back maybe I will start a new account and go from there. It certainly can be very time consuming.. Thank you for the follow!! Balance….and moderation… (:

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  5. Yes! The only problem is the difficulty in uncharging and knowing when to do it. I remember the days when we had to find a phone booth to call home, with no cellphone links to safety. Now help is at our fingertips. On the other hand, when two teens are texting each other (side by side) in the backseat of my car, I begin to wonder. 🙂

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    • Exactly, Dor! I too remember many times when it would have been reassuring to have a cell phone, so for safety purposes, it’s the best thing. But as any good thing, we overindulge in it and let it take over our lives (and that’s not just teenagers as I noticed at the restaurant I wrote about here!!).

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  6. I’ve heard them called “pacifiers” before. And I’m guilty, too, but I try to refrain when I’m with hubby and son. Unless they ask me to Google something related to a conversation we’re having!

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  7. Our pastor spoke specifically on this issue about a year ago, and it was very enlightening for many of us. He specifically spoke to having a “no phones” policy at mealtime, and we abide by this always unless there is a pressing matter that we really need to be watching for communications, especially when Mom was still alive and I had to be “glued” to my phone in case I got a call from the assisted living place where she lived, which honestly happened very often. I don’t miss feeling that I need to keep my phone constantly charged either, in the event that I ended up in the ER with her for hours and hours. He really made some great points about how our phones are great tools and help us so much in times of emergencies, when family members and friends far away need support, even if it is just staying in touch online, etc. But certainly, we need to find a balance with these tools, too. That is what stuck with me… the discipline and balance that is necessary. His point that there are real people online, not just names, also spoke to me. We just need to pray and prioritize where we spend our time every day, for sure. Good thoughts today, my friend! 😉

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    • Wise man, your pastor. Discipline and balance are not what I see in our culture in much of anything, let alone cell phone addiction. It just makes me truly sad that people would rather spend time staring at that little screen (whether it’s phone or computer) than gazing upon another human face to face and actually conversing with them in person. Thanks, D.

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  8. I’ve discovered some bad habits lately, including looking at my phone first thing in the morning. Then, if I have “urgent” emails, I launch into working before I take time to do what really matters to me in the mornings. It’s robbing me of valuable time at important times of the day. Wise words here. Thanks for sharing.

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