You 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