This week, an old friend came to mind for one distinctive character; he was never enslaved to his phone or any form of technology.
Gabriel would never carry his phone to any appointment or house visits. I recall the first time he came to our home, and towards the end as he was departing, I inquired if he had remembered to carry his phone out of the house, he said he never came in with it and he never does as long as he’s visiting someone’s house. I was amazed. Up until that point it had not occurred to me that not even once did he reach out for the phone, which is very common these days whenever two or more people are seated together.
Current trends have forced many of us to have several social media accounts, not knowing that the more accounts the busier one is.
Personally, I’m always shifting my hands between the table and the bag or wherever else the phone is because even if it has not rang, there could be a message that has come silently. Whether it is in the restroom or elevator we are no longer alone, there’s a Facebook or Twitter friend with you, there is someone bugging you for a picture of where you are, or a colleague in need of urgent attention on mail.
A family of five will go out for a meal and will spend time on phone, food will get cold as photos of it are being taken, or as people are responding to messages. The worst habit many of us have and one we need to fight is placing the phone in front of us as soon as we enter an office or a house. It will mean your attention is divided between the aim of the appointment and the ringing phone. As long as one’s phone is within reach, there is no way they will avoid distraction; whether it is by checking if someone is calling or putting it on silent as soon as it starts ringing, or going ahead to answer the call at that moment something has happened. The mind has wandered.
My phone has a pattern and I have caught myself unlock it several times to see if I have a message. I grew up in days where there were no gadgets and it meant we had to say hello, find out how one’s day had been, when there was a misunderstanding we had to find a solution real fast so that we could go back to talking. Things are different now, in a home of six, if people are not talking to each other, they don’t mind because there is online family.
In the last few years I have spent only one day away from my phone. I forgot it at home and since I lived far from work I could not go back for it. One day only, see my life!
Join me in planning a getaway from the phone and every other gadget and see how we come out of that. It will not be easy but we’ve got to try.