By Sabrina Almeida
Are you one of those individuals that reaches for their phone at any and every given moment? Congratulations! You have officially joined the rank and file of the militia whose smartphones have become their lifeline.
Yes, it is both annoying and rude to be engrossed in your phone when you are at a social gathering or even at office meetings. Not to mention dangerous when you’re crossing the street, biking or driving.
My kids, and I’m sure yours too, have taken it to an all new level. They walk about the house armed with their phones. I’ve had to remind them over and over about how it is unsafe to have your ears plugged to the phone on the kitchen counter when you’re stirring a pot on the stove. I suspect they do it so that they can pretend they can’t hear me.
While we’ve all written off the kids, Generation X and baby boomers must accept their share of the blame. At recent gatherings I’ve observed how some mature men and women can’t put their phones aside. Apart from checking messages and emails every few minutes (Wow they must be really important!), they will pull up pictures and videos to show you when referring to events or people (After all stories are more vivid with pictorials to support them.), take pictures with it and send it to you immediately (Because the moment shouldn’t be lost,) ,and play with the phone in their lap or on the table all the time.
Perhaps it is my envy talking?
I must confess that on many occasions I’ve felt rather unimportant, uninteresting and a technologically-ignorant in comparison because my phone sits quietly in my bag without a beep. I’ve tried to silently talk myself into using it to click some photos just to keep up and show I belong to the same generation. But alas I am too lazy and uninspired by my phone. So I just sit there like Simple Simon and let the others tell stories with help of visual aids or take pictures and send it to me instead.
I’ve also realized that you’ve got to be more careful when debating a point of view or narrating events even in a social setting. The phone can shame you into silence. Thanks to Google almost everything can be verified almost instantly and of course, people are just waiting for any opportunity to pick up their phones. And if you don’t want others in your social circle to know what you’ve been up to on the weekend, stay out of the pictures that could make their way to Facebook!
If you are trying to determine whether your guests are enjoying themselves, simply observe how often they use their phones. If they say they have to leave because something came up, your event didn’t quite cut it with them and they are just letting you down gently. So many friends have admitted to me about pretending to receive an urgent text, call or email so that they can make a quick getaway from a party.
Smartphones have come a long way from their initial purpose as instruments of communication. They have not only replaced computers, television and books but people as well. For many, their mobile devices are their closest if not only companions. Think I’m exaggerating just observe the phone habits of family, friends and colleagues. They’ll be fretting and fuming over their phones as if it were a child or pet. Now if the phones could talk back, I wonder what they’d say? Form a union and demand more compensation for being overworked and misused, perhaps?
Surprisingly when you ask people about their pet peeves, most will say it’s individuals with a phone addiction. I guess it doesn’t apply to them.
And… I realize that I’m probably part of a fast dwindling minority that wishes people would just put down their phones for a while.