Hope everyone had a Merry Stressmas! But it’s not over yet. Returns to be made. Unless you and yours think like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.” We can only hope.
On the third day before Christmas, at the airport bound for Florida, disaster struck. I forgot my phone. Panic set in. Instant anxiety. How does one function in life without this device? What ifs cluttered my brain. Devastating. No lifeline to the world, to my friends and most importantly, to information. I can’t live without Google. Or can I?
Dopamine In Disguise
Research indicates that we look at our phone every six and one-half minutes. That’s 221.5 times per twenty-four hours. What would you do with all that spare time? Read a book? Write a book? Build a house? Why do we do it? Social media and text messages are dopamine in disguise. Seriously. The same thing that is produced by alcohol, food, drugs, sex, liquor and who knows what else for who else. And can be just as addictive. Don’t you get a little high, instant gratification, or a tiny boost in self-esteem with each text or FB post? Come on…dig deeper…admit it. I’m enslaved to my five Facebook friends. Cessation would cause severe trauma.
When’s the last time you had an actual voice phone call versus the short text with bad grammar and all those fun, but silly emoticons? Do we even know how to interact anymore in real life, face to face, with a real person? Are we dehumanized? Do we actually ever have a good time or, instead of that, do we just Twitter, Instagram or FB it?
It’s not hard for me to ignore some of those email or text pings. They are so distracting. But I find that too many people get frantic, pushy, worried, neurotic, demanding or shaming if you don’t immediately respond.
Not having a phone for a week brought many revelations. I became more aware of my surroundings. The world was quieter. It was easier to contemplate, concentrate, daydream and reflect on the past year. I had more face to face conversations with depth and meaning. Patience came easier. “Oh, you don’t have your phone.” played on an endless loop. Such dependency. Or addiction.
The rudeness that happens with cell phones hit me in the face nonstop. We’ve all been there. The phone on the table at dinner or meetings. Who or what is more important here? Stopping a conversation in mid-stream to answer the phone, with no apology or excusing oneself. You are a captive audience. And wonder if they comprehended anything you said. How many times will you have to repeat it? Getting in people’s way, if not bumping into them, because you’re like a zombie with eyes glued to that screen. You, yourself, could get hit by a car with this distracted walking. Or messing up while driving because that text or post is more important than your life or that of another. Shame on us. Even checking out at a store while on the phone is rude and disrespectful. That clerk deserves your attention. Listening to a nasty fight between a couple on speaker phone. Is nothing private anymore?
Maybe we should go back to the days of the princess phone. My elderly dad had a touch tone one in his car between the seats. When I asked him why he explained that it was for security. He would pretend to call the police if need be. Dear old dad never could comprehend that his reasoning was erroneous. He felt safe. That’s what mattered.
Consider taking a time-out. Leave your phone at home even if it’s just while you’re out to dinner with friends. Make them feel important. Get rid of the temptation. Enjoy the world! Enjoy life!