Warning. Slight rant ahead.
During the past week, in ONE day, I was:
- Bumped into and knocked off balance while rounding a street corner (because someone had their head buried in their mobile device)
- Almost spilled on with my soup when someone got up from their seat at a takeout restaurant as I passed by (because they had their head buried in their mobile device)
- Slammed into while riding the subway when the train came to an abrupt halt (because someone had their head buried in their mobile device)
- Barreled into as I entered the turnstile to my office building even though I was already badged in (because someone had their head buried in their mobile device)
- Stuck at a green light that eventually turned red, keeping the line of cars from moving (because someone had their head buried in their mobile device)
And should I also mention all the people I talked to who didn’t look at me during the discussion (because they had their head buried in their mobile device)?
What’s happened to us? Have common courtesies been thrown out the window because people have decided that it’s more important to be glued to cell phones than paying attention to what’s going on around them? Have we forgotten that we’re sharing space with other individuals who are also in the home or office, or on the sidewalk or road? Have we become that self-centered that we think it’s okay to step on someone else’s feet or knock them down or spill a beverage on them because we think the cell phone is more important than politeness and civility?
I’m utterly flummoxed.
And yes, that’s a toned down word for what I’m really thinking.
Because in every instance, I was the one who was glared at or cursed at for a situation the offending party thought was my fault.
<Insert headshake here>
I understand that mobile technology helps us. That it keeps us connected to important information like news and emails and appointments. But the key word here, folks, is “important”, and “important” doesn’t equate to “everything”. It’s not necessary to check your Facebook feed while you’re walking through a crowd. It’s not necessary to view email while sitting at a red light. It’s not necessary to read about an entertainer’s latest house purchase or lavish wedding or public faux pas while people are trying to get in and out of a building.
Because not everything happening on your mobile device is important.
Much like I said in a recent blog, “Our devices hold out the false promise that there is something more important, more urgent, more interesting than our present-moment experience.” And that false sense of urgency is making us rude. I’m sorry, but it is. I’m all for staying connected. I really, truly am. But can we do it more mindfully, and with the understanding and acceptance that we’re sharing space with other people?
If not, then maybe it’s time to decide if you have an addiction to your mobile device.
/end of rant
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