March 17, 2007

Resistance Is Futile

It's a foggy, overcast afternoon, damp and chilly. I decided to make a day of experimenting with glass painting. I hopped in the car and went down to my local craft store to pick up a couple bottles of glass paint. As I walked toward the store entrance from the parking lot, I saw a woman heading toward the same store entrance with her pre-teenage daughter. How lovely, I thought. The sight of them took me back to my childhood where dreary, lazy days would be spent crafting under the supervision of my mother. Bonding. Mental and creative stimulation. Family quality time. Then I saw ... one of those stupid ear phones stuck into the mother's head.

Now I'm for advances in technology and all that. I don't see anything wrong with the corporate types walking around downtown juggling cell phones, laptop computers, blackberries, and that cup of Starbuck's cappuccino. But here was a mother. With her child. On a Saturday afternoon. What could possibly be so important that she would need a phone attached to her head while going to the craft store?

While the constant phone communication gives the facade of keeping people connected, it is becoming nothing more than something to distract from what we are currently doing and who we are currently with, even if we are alone. There is nothing wrong with walking through the mall alone with a song in your head instead of incessantly chatting on the phone. Is it really necessary to have dinner with someone in a restaurant while talking on the phone to someone else? How unnatural it seems to see someone having a phone conversation while hiking through a state park. Just recently Boyfriend and I went to a theater production of White Christmas, and a couple seats down from me sat a person who had to periodically check cell phone messages during the performance, the LED lights from the instrument illuminating the entire section in which we sat.

Yes, technology is a good thing. Even I own a cell phone, which I carry with me at all times in case of emergency. I can't remember the last time I turned it on. Yes, it is possible to carry a cell phone without even turning it on. Get those stupid things out of your ears. You look like a damn Borg.

I ask you, what exactly is the difference?

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