Monday, January 16, 2012

Nice and Easy Now...Step Away From the Phone.

We've all done it.  Or at the very least, we've seen it being done.

You're sitting at dinner with your family, friends, significant other (bad dates do not count here), when you get a text, a phone call, an email.  You immediately reach for your phone, which is sitting just to the right of your water glass.  Whether it's on silent or vibrate does not stop us from checking and rechecking our phone.  Is there always something better going on?

Or how about this one: over the holidays you're enjoying time with family and friends.  You're sitting in the living room with your brother-in-law, your sister from out-of-town, maybe a few cousins you see just once a year.  All of you sitting with your phone in your hands, heads down, fingers tapping away at a tiny keyboard.  "Enjoying time with out of town family and friends" you post.  Really?  Enjoying time?

Why is it that we feel we have to post constant updates about our lives, to the detriment of... our lives?  Maybe you've read recently about the young blogger's idea for the restaurant phone game.  A quick run-down in case you've been out of touch:
When you sit down at a restaurant, everyone at the table sets their phone face-down in a stack.  Regardless of whether the phone rings or vibrates, beeps or dings, no on is allowed to so much as look at their phone.
If at any point during dinner you do look at your phone?  Dinner's on you.

I like it, but, I can hear the arguments already. "My kids might call,"  "It could be work," or "I'm waiting for an important (whatever)."

What in the world did we do before cell phones?  How did we survive before smart phones let us check our email, facebook status and twitter feeds every 14 seconds around the clock?

But the truth is, I'm a bit addicted, too.  It's the nature of our society in 2012 to want - require - 24/7 access.   It's what we've become accustomed to - the norm.

And really, if we go back to the 70s (my childhood, the bee gees, bell bottoms, the good 'ol days), didn't we, in essence, do the same things, just with different distractions?  It's not like we all used to be the Cleavers and suddenly the iPhone has turned us all into cold, heartless, family-haters.  It used to be that we gathered with our friends and relatives over the holidays, sat together in a cozy family room, with a blazing fire in the fireplace and... watched TV.  So really, let's keep it in perspective folks.  Think of all the good the smart phone has done.  Toppled governments, for God's sake!  Saved Lives!  Started conversations, raised money, connected lost relatives, high school friends...

But I digress.  Back to that mobile phone restaurant game.  Is it so hard to unplug for an hour?  90 minutes tops?  Maybe.  But I am going to give it a shot next time I'm out to dinner and let you know how I do.  Give it a try, and let me know if you were successful...


  1. I am the exact opposite. I rarely have my phone on, and have just recently learned how to text. However, my "baby" is 23 and lives out of town, so I don't have that worry.

    Good luck with your challenge.

  2. I'm just the opposite too. I rarely have my phone on. And I don't text! I do get a little annoyed when out to dinner with friends and they're playing with their phone - as I think, what am I chopped liver? I figure if there's a real emergency, I'll learn about it soon enough... just when I need to. I totally understand with the kid thing though. Anyway, going without a phone for me is a piece of cake... mmmm cake...

  3. I am SO guilty! Where did I go wrong? When I was a teenager (no, Beth, I actually lived in a house, not a cave!)we left after breakfast and stayed out with our friends all day. We went home when the street lights came on, then played in front of the house till it was time to go inside. All of our parents knew where we were because they were outside after dinner sitting on the front "stoop" talking with the neighbors. In college, we were happy to have the person answering the phone in the dorm tell our parents that we were "studying" at the library. And that was that. A quick call to mom or dad later that night or the next day was sufficient. But times do change and I cannot/will not give up my iphone! What would I do without all of my contacts, calendar alerts, weather updates and Blackhawk scores? How would I keep up with my kids and grandkids? What would I do without solitaire! I do , however, draw the line at dinner. And I love driving your kids nuts by talking so they are forced to remove the earbuds:) Love the challenge and I am definitely willing to give it a try...but what if it's you calling to ask me to babysit? Now that's a problem:)