The Phone Fad
My phone is so close to me at all times it is like having a permanent pet. It is like a yo-yo. In my pocket, on the counter, atop the bed covers.
When did we decide we would all marry our devices, make the commitment “to have and to hold?” I’d like to think I am not attached. But I’m totally attached.
I have gotten into the practice, kind of an anthropological experiment, of watching the way other people behave with their devices. I slip around behind people and peer over their shoulder.
It is not just the way they crane their neck so far forward it seems like their head might snap off. It is not only the way they are absorbed by snap-shot photos of people at parties, pets sleeping, and pretty teeth. What really strikes me is how oblivious they are to me. The irony I’m sure is obvious. That in the age of constant contact, 10,000 connections and more, there is so much disconnect.
I watched a woman, like mid-fifties, FaceTiming her hubby back home. At least it seemed like her sweety because she started to ask about the kid’s bedtime and fixing the dishwasher. But the light from the window behind her bleached her screen in such a way that she couldn’t really see him. She could see only her own reflection mirrored on her screen.
There are times when I am in an airport and some businessman is talking to his associate on speakerphone. Going on and on about a deadline later that day. He doesn’t care a hoot that the warbled voice on speaker is loud enough for all around him to hear. Is that legal?
Our phones are just part of a fad, right? When our grandparents were kids there were no TVs. When I was a kid the phone was attached to the wall. Someday, probably fairly soon, the smartphones will be extinct. They will be interred in a massive smartphone graveyard.
In the meantime, the handheld device has become so habit-forming that all too often I find myself flipping open my lid and starting to press buttons when I have no idea where I am going.
The handheld device is a perfect replica for the habit mind. It gives us all the chance to indulge our habit mind anytime, anywhere.