Talking to Ourselves

We talk to ourselves; this is what we have come to in the electronic age. It all began with the magic of the pager. Important people began to wear pagers. (Doctors, lawyers, politicians, police detectives, etc.) Soon everybody wanted a pager so they could feel important too. Some young men were known to have carried garage door openers in their pockets. They’d take them out for a glance then pop them back into their pockets. This was supposed to make the girls believe these fellows were indeed important. Sad really. Tee hee
The next step was the cell phone.  As soon as they hit the market the whole world went nuts. Everybody and his dog wanted a cell phone. A cell phone meant you were important. Suddenly people were talking loudly in grocery store lines up, in their cars, in restaurants, cafes, sidewalks, etc. if a member of your lunch group got a call on the cell; everybody had to be quiet so the important person could complete the call. If you tried to speak, even softly, the person on the phone would raise a hand, finger extended, to silence you.
That wasn’t the end of it though, not by a long shot. Soon the cell phone morphed into a multi-use device. Now you can make a call, send a text, check your mail, take a photo or video, cruise the internet, play games, read a book, and a thousand other things I know nothing about.
So now we talk to our phones instead of the other people around us. We talk to ourselves instead of to the others in the room. I watched a young couple in a café. She was drop-dead gorgeous, and bored to tears. He was busy on the phone re-hashing a hockey game with his friends while he ignored her. I doubt he got lucky that night.
We also behave like drunk drivers. Everybody knows the results of driving under the influence, but stop and think. Are you any less impaired when you fumble with the phone or try to send a text, or try to see the GPS on the phone while driving? I’ve seen all that and more. I’ll confess to taking a call while driving, then suffering a beating at the hands of my conscience.
Please weight in on this one folks; I’d really like to hear from you on this one.

19 thoughts on “Talking to Ourselves

  1. Great post. It seems like we are on a trend toward social ineptitude. Even I caught myself pulling out my cellphone during dinners too often and have since made a deliberate point of not doing so. I can't believe people who use the phones while driving though. It isn't worth it. I won't even answer a call on my Bluetooth while driving unless I know it is critical at that moment.

  2. I hate technology, and yet I have become it's slave. Yup, that's me walking through the airport with my laptop, Nook, DS, bluetooth in my ear and two phones hanging from my hip. And yes one of those phones does all that internet stuff too. Why two phones? Because in my weekly life, I travel and remain in two different cellular zones. I am never at my home so there is no point to installing a landline, and I have to be reachable. In my area, there is entirely too many lonely miles between towns and with old cars, prolific wildlife and unpredictable weather, it is dangerous to be on the road with no way to call for help. Never mind that people did it for decades before the invention of the cell phone, the mama worries. Of course, so do the sisters, friends and coworkers. However, it's gonna be the mama that calls when you are halfway to your destination and trying to keep your eye on the idiot in front of you who is messing with his cd player instead of watching the road. You know she is going to call 911 if she can't reach you, so you pick up the phone and curtly say "Driving" and hang it up as it drops to your lap. Enough of these trips in a vehicle with armstrong steering or a stick shift, and you get a bluetooth. This avoids the "well you were in a pissy mood" remonstration later. Now you can answer politely, explain to her that, no you can't write down her grocery list to pick up when you get where you are going because your hands are occupied and could she just text you the list. Of course neither of these solutions works for the stepdad who doesn't get the fact that just because HE has no problem with talking and driving, doesn't mean that you feel the same. I finally just told him that unless somebody was dying, he needed to not call me. Big drama, but you have got to be safe. The bluetooth is used mostly for the sake of "Hi, no I am not ignoring you, if you can hang on for just a minute, I will pull over"

    When I actually LOOK like I am talking to myself though? I probably am. Or… Uhhhh… working on dialog for my WIP…. Yeah, that's it!!

  3. So true about how careful we need to be with technology. My husband and I have a rule about talking on the phone during dinner or when we're out together because it's supposed to be time for us to focus on each other and reconnect.

    Ontario has a hands free law now, which I was really glad to see go into effect. Now I just wish they would ban smoking while driving too.

  4. I'm not a technophile but not a Luddite either. My cell phone is old and can only do the basic things (calls and SMS) and that's quite enough for me. And my phone is often lost or forgotten on quiet mode. I love my Kindle, though.

    Other people's tehcnology addiction and bad habits are obnoxious, though. Even some of my friends have been fumbling their phones while we're at a coffee house and chatting. And it drives me crazy when people don't turn their phones off in class rooms and movie theatres.

    Finland has a hands free law too but a lot of people sadly ignore it. And even if you don't hold the phone physically, it still takes concentration off the driving.

  5. I'm a big fan of mindful driving, eating and living, Prudence. That's not to say it all comes easily, or that I don't have work to do. But so far, learning to cut away distraction around me and be more present in where ever I'm at has been life changing.

    I can't help but wonder if people cling to cell phones and other distractions because they're bored, frustrated or otherwise unhappy with their lives. Pursuing our passions is a great remedy, IMHO. It would solve so many of the world's problems.

    Great post!

  6. I have a smartphone, but it's mostly so I can read blogs while I'm at work LOL. Oh, some of which are tech blogs that *help* me do my job, but are blocked! Texting or any handheld electronics use while driving is banned in my locality, but people still do it all the time. Drives me nuts (yes, short drive). Even when they're not doing something outright dangerous, they usually go slowwwww! Even with hands-free in my car, I rarely talk on the phone while driving. And texting during dinner? Sometimes my husband does it, but for the most part we don't. He is really bad about talking if someone calls, though. Ugh!

  7. Hi Prudence, using handheld devices while driving is illegal over here in Australia (so is smoking in a car with kids btw). People still do it unfortunately. Another behaviour which also has serious ramifications because of inattention is pedestrians either simply listening to their gadget of choice or texting etc and forgetting where they are. I've had more than one go to step out and cross the road in front of me as I'm driving sedately along. No harm done but lots of adrenaline flowing.

  8. I believe the clinging to the phone in public is a cry for significance. I just wish folks would find another way to have that need met. Yep, pursuing the dream is a great way to feel fulfilled.

  9. Hi Margaret, yes, walkers not paying attention and stepping in front of cars is a bad survival strategy for them. I see that a lot here too. I sometimes stand in the way just to see the look on their faces when they walk into me.

  10. I'd love to post a comment, Prudence, but my movie's starting on my phone and I don't want to miss it. (Tee hee)

    Isn't is sad what the world's coming to? My husband doesn't think instant messenging is fast enough. Really? It's INSTANT.

    I do remember the days of the all important pager. Boy did those folks who had them think they were all that too. Too funny!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  11. It may be just me, but I believe we've all become too accustomed to having it all. Want to know the weather report? Never mind waiting for the news or for the paper to arrive… Open your web browser. What! You have to wait for your computer to boot up? Oh, here, I pulled it up on my phone–you really should get a tablet.

    It's rather silly really. We're living our lives at breakneck speed, determined to not miss out on anything, yet we're losing so much because we can't keep track of it all and maintain the depth we used to have.


  12. The hard part is to accept that we can't have it all, we cannot experience it all, nor can we be it all in one lifetime. Accepting that some things will escape our notice is very freeing. That acceptance allowed me to cancel the cable. I can no longer watch television as it happens and all that entails. I'm actually enjoying the experience. 🙂

  13. I admit it. I have a smartphone and I use it a lot. It's a very useful tool, but it's just a tool. It's nothing compared to listening to my daughter tell me a story or my DH tell me about his day at work. Of course, sometimes tech interferes with being a part of life and, like you said, I get a sound thrashing from my conscience when that happens. Thanks for the reminder of what's really important.

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