Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life interrupted...

I went to Costa Vida today for lunch.  I had left over "birthday money" just dying to be spent on something that wouldn't last.  And my sweet pork salad did not last that long, but it was oh so tasty.  Anyway, not the point.

I was in line right behind a couple.  They were probably in their late 40s early 50s or so.  The husband was a rather large man and his T-shirt said "Old Men Rock".  He had a headset on that was attached to his phone.  He was talking rather loudly to someone explaining something or other.  Not a big deal but it did draw my attention.  It took him a long time to order because he was still talking to the other party, so the line was held up a bit.  Still no big deal, I was in no hurry.  I eventually got my salad and sat down to enjoy its goodness and reflect on life a bit.

Well, turns out that the couple sat at the table just across from me.  The husband was still talking rather loudly on the phone.  Since I like to people watch, I did just that.  And since I was in no hurry, I took my time.  He was on the phone the entire meal.  I finished my salad and he was still talking.  It still wouldn't have been a big deal, but I'm pretty sure that his wife was a bit annoyed.  And as I thought about it I realized that I hadn't heard a single word from her the entire time.  I wanted to reach out to her and say "aren't you glad you took the time to have lunch with your husband!" since she was clearly being neglected.  She sat in silence and ate her  meal with only a small resentful glance now and then towards her dearly beloved.  A glance that seemed to say she didn't enjoy it but was not surprised that it was happening.  She then cleaned up the table and put a lid on his meal so he could take it home as he was still talking.  I had long ago realized that this phone call wasn't a business deal or something hugely important that couldn't be delayed by 15 minutes or so to enjoy lunch with his wife.  They eventually got up and went out the door, him still talking.

It got me thinking about how "connected" we can become.  And it got me thinking about how being so "connected" can really get in the way of the most important connections of all.  Husband, wife, children,  friends, relatives, God.  There are so many gadgets available to make sure that we don't miss any new bit of information that we almost lose the ability to prioritize and filter things out of our lives.  The things that are of no worth.  The things that interrupt the very real and tangible connecting factors in our lives for a bit of information on the web.  The things that are so convenient and easy to use that a lunch together turned into a husband talking on the phone while the wife sat in silence.

Being one of the few non-IPhone, smart phone, etc. owners, I have become increasingly aware how much it interrupts life.  Not because I don't have one, but because everyone else does.  I am constantly amazed at how much "information" is being looked up in the middle of a conversation.  At the dinner table. During a movie.  During a date.  During church, work, school, you name it.  Information is available at the tips of our fingers 24/7. 

While there is value to having such information close at hand, does that mean that every question must be instantly answered whether it is important or not?  Will the world stop spinning if the answer to "who was that guy in that one Kevin Bacon movie" isn't immediately found?  Is it possible to wait till at least the main entree is eaten before diving in to find such important and useful information?  Besides that fact that nothing says "I love you" like "what was it your were saying dear, I was looking up the latest election results?  Oh hold that thought, New Hampshire has just begun."

My husband sometimes asks me if I feel "left out" because I don't have an IPhone.  Occasionally I wonder if I really am missing out on something. And then I look around on the bus, in the halls of campus, in my own living room at times, and see the masses of people walking/sitting around all involved with their phones, ear buds in place and eyes on their screens.  Masses of people crammed together and not talking to each other.  Nope, I don't feel left out at all.

Besides.  I have a computer that I sit at all day that does all of that and more!  And it has a bigger screen so I don't have to squint.  And it has the coolest programs on it.  Especially the new version of Photoshop and... "what was that dear? ....but I'm blogging.... well hold a towel on it and try not to get blood on my carpet. I'll be up as soon as I finish this post." 

It's not the technology that's bad my friends, it's when and how you choose to use it.


  1. I'm not going to lie, I love that I can read your blog and comment on it while breastfeeding Capri! Or read a book. Or so many other things. Once your baby is here, you're not going to have all day to be on your computer :) Just saying...

  2. Yeah. That. THAT was what I was trying to say...

    (and it really IS possible to parent without a smart phone...I promise! ;)

  3. Absolutely NOT saying that technology is bad. Love it. Some of it would be entirely wasted on me though. Other things I absolutely adore. However, I can let technology rule my life or I can actually have a say in it myself. My hope is that when this little guy comes that I haven't become so absorbed with technology that I don't remember how to survive without it.
    And I better be able to survive parenthood without a smart phone, if not I'm totally doomed! :)

  4. I don't have a smart phone either. Yay us!

    I really like this post. It is so easy to get lost in technology.

    If I would have been that women, I probably would have kept interrupting my husband's conversation, trying to guess what was being talked about.

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  6. Oh, Camille. That would so be me. "whatcha talking about...?"

  7. So glad neither of us has smart phones. But Adam's new kindle fire has been keeping his atention lately. If he was talking on the phone all during dinner, I might be tempted to take the phone and finish the conversation myself. :) Luckily my husband wouldn't do that.

  8. David and I were talking about it after and I would totally do the same thing. As in I would interrupt him and ask if it was totally necessary for him to have this conversation right now. Or maybe ask if I could take a trip to Hawaii without him or something or other, just to see what I could get away with. :) Hmmmm. Could be some perks here I didn't think about.

  9. i am with you Lora. Sometimes I do think it would be nice to have a smart phone, but we can't afford the data plan to go with the couple of hundred dollar phone anyways! :) So, we have a laptop and I LOVE my new kindle fire and we are good. I agree completely on the being "too connected" thing, it is overwhelming sometimes! Getting so excited for your little one to arrive!

  10. Thanks Lora! This gave me a lot to think about!