I Love to Hate Cellphones

I have a love-hate relationship with cellphones.

I love the convenience of them. I love the ability to have everything at my finger tips; like emails for reference. I love that I ALWAYS have a camera on me. I love that now that my kids are older and venturing out “on their own” they have a way to get a hold of me if need be. (It is usually just to ask for more screen time because…. Apple’s screen-time function) After my husband broke his ankle last year in below freezing temperatures at midnight I really learned how important it is to have a communication tool on you.

Everything out side of those few loves, I hate. I hate how something on a tiny screen gets more attention than the person standing in front of you. I hate the glow of that screen at night, in bed from the person next to you. I especially hate how people give that screen attention WHILE THEY ARE DRIVING. The amount of notification noises that these handheld computers making is astonishing and how every. single. notification gets your attention.

I hate when I go to functions and everyone is staring at their phones. Why am I here if everyone is giving their attention to something else? Not everything needs to be posted right away. You’d rather engage in a conversation with someone in your Facebook comments than your brother or sister sitting right next to you? Maybe I am salty about this because the minute I take out my book to read in these situations I get shit on, but if I sat there reading that same book on my kindle app on my phone no one would give a shit?

We always talk about kids and their phones, but I honestly think adults are worse. Recently my family and I went somewhere filled with adults and teenagers a like… the adults spent more time on their phones than the kids did. I was really proud of those kids. I actually had more conversations with the kids than I did with the adults. Those kids were so funny and smart. I could not tell you the last time I held conversations with those parents.

Since April I think I have really learned to put my phone down. It is not as interesting as I thought it was. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter don’t actually need to be updated this very minute. I think what has helped a lot with that is the ability to schedule my posts on various platforms. I can still say what I want to say without the need to do it at the expense of face time lost with people.

Maybe I sit up on my high horse right now because I feel like I have discovered something that most people haven’t yet. I can tell people until they are blue in the face about how annoying cellphone usage in and everyone will agree…. but then they will go right back to giving that handheld computer all their attention. Completely dismissing something I said because more attention was given to Candy Crush than to what I was trying to say.

There was a segment on the news, actually two segments, recently on the news about cellphone usage and etiquette. The first one was about people walking and using their cellphones. Because we all know driving and using your cellphone is bad, but people still do it at alarming rates…. like the woman who was pulled over on air for using her cellphone while driving and when asked what she was doing she admitted to being on Instagram. Now people insist on walking and using their cellphones. The journalist followed person after person after person who was crossing major roadways while looking down at their phones. One woman was completely oblivious to the fact that a man and a camera crew was walking right behind her. One guy was actually stopped by the same crew and asked what he was doing on his phone while crossing the street – reading an article. My own personal experience: I was coming home from the gym one day and as I was turning onto a road there was a young man approaching the corner on foot. I could see he was completely clueless to what was going on. Headphones on, head down completely engrossed in his phone. He almost walked right out in front of my car. The startled look on his face emphasized the fact that he had no idea what the fuck he was doing – yeah dude, you almost got hit by a car. Luckily I was not on my cellphone also.

I don’t think people really realize how rude it is to answer not specifically a ringing phone, because most people will apologize and say they need to answer a phone call but a text message. A friend of mine that I have not seen in awhile came over one day. They stopped by mostly to voice their own personal frustrations with their current station in life, interrupting my well planned out afternoon of reading. I am happy to be that outlet for someone who needs it….. until the text messages start and someone feels the need to answer them right away. It was actually amazing to watch their attention completely drain from our conversation to answer a text message. To me, a text message is not urgent. If something was urgent a phone call would be warranted. A text message is like a note left on a kitchen counter – you’ll get to it when you get to it. I know. You can not help who messages you or when they do. But most of us now have smart watches that accompany our smart phones so it only takes a glance to see who is messaging you and maybe why. There is a good chance that someone asking you how your day went is not something that requires an immediate response. But something like that usually always gets an immediate response when you’re in the presence of someone else.

What is equally as annoying is when you try and message someone who is typically always glued to their phone one way or another but it takes H O U R S to hear back from them, if not days, if at all. Or you think you are spending time with someone who is so busy carrying on an actual conversation with someone else via text.

I am so over the entire thing I refuse to compete with a cellphone. If we are in the middle of a conversation, and you pick up your cellphone I am done talking. If I walk into a room and you are on your phone and do not even realized I walked into the room… I will not attempt to strike up a conversation. I will not engage in a movie or television program with you if you are choosing to be on your cellphone at the same time. I have done all of these things but I am trying to do better. Honestly, in April I really learned how to concentrate on the thing I am doing. I cannot watch TV and be on my cellphone at the same time anymore. Now that I think about it, I never really could… I would miss whole parts of movies or shows while scrolling Instagram. I have given up being angry about it, or even saying anything (unless you are one of my children) because this is something people need to learn on their own. Up until April, yes I had read plenty of articles, watched enough segments on the news but I did not really get it. It really takes some perspective to put your phone down. TO BE PRESENT.

I know I have spoken about it before. I know I am beating a dead horse with this but I turn all of my notifications off. I don’t get social media notifications, nor do I get email notifications. I utilize my D O N O T D I S T U R B function on my phone to the fullest extent. I am writing this while on vacation with my family and found this option to turn off all notifications until an end of an event, which would be our vacation in the calendar.

To the person in my life that is always on their phone that said to me I was going to miss something because I was on my phone. Don’t worry…. I see you…. On your phone, missing things. And before someone jumps down my shit, yes, I am sitting here balls early in the AM writing this with my phone right next to me. All I am asking is that you be more aware of the things going on around you instead of what is happening on a screen that can wait. Candy Crush, Instagram, work email and text messages can wait…. you will never get these small moments of your life back.

JS.

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