Cynical And Southern: I Use My Cell More To Avoid People Than Talk To Them
I stood in the club. Jennifer Lopez blared out of the speakers. An endless parade of shirtless douchebags nudged and elbowed me. My friends were in the bathroom and I stood alone. I reached for my cell phone to pretend I was texting someone. Saved by the cell.
I just had sex. There was an awkward silence afterwards. He ran to the bathroom to wash his face. I was hoping he would leave. He was okay in bed but his conversation was grating and simple. I reached for my cell phone to pretend I was texting someone. Saved by the cell again.
I was at a concert. It was one of my favorite artists of all time. I missed my artist’s grand entrance because I was on my cell phone attempting to tweet about being at the concert. By the time I figured out how to send the tweet the first song was half over. Damn that cell.
I was at work waiting tables. The pretty girl was sitting alone while she awaited the rest of her family to arrive. I approached her to take her drink order. She didn’t notice me. She was on her phone texting someone. Or pretending to text someone. I was avoided by the cell.
I rarely make calls on my cell phone. Looking at my call log I see I have spoken to a human being for over eight days. I realize I have used my phone over seven times in the last week to deflect socially awkward situations.
My phone was once a way to keep in touch with the people in my life. Now it’s a become a tool I use to avoid people who aren’t in my life.
Once I stopped to ponder I realized how many dinners I’d texted through while avoiding the person I was with. More often than not, because of my phone, I am only half present in most of my real life situations. I see the same behavior in almost everyone I know.
Over the past week I’ve forced myself to leave my phone in my pocket. It was a miniscule victory but this time when my friends left me at the club I stood with my hands in my pocket and my head tilted upwards. A stranger smiled at me. I would have never seen his smile if I’d been texting. I got his phone number.
I was at a restaurant waiting for my party to arrive. I was tempted to check an inbox I knew was empty just to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of sitting alone. I kept my phone on the table. I scanned the crowd and got to see an old couple kiss each other. It was a sincere exchange of valid affection. I would have missed it if I’d been on my phone.
Technology has enabled our modern lives to be quick and easy. But how much of our lives are we missing enslaved to these devices? Have they made the technology to rid us of our dependency on our damn cell phones yet?
My cell phone often feels like a ball and chain or a life support. I am trying my best to learn how to breathe without it.
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