Last week, my hubby made a very astute observation. He makes lots of observations and not all of them are astute. In fact, most of them are silly and some of them could definitely be classified as crazy. I can’t divulge most of them, because I’m pretty sure someone would come haul him away – and I would like to keep him around for a while – mainly because he makes me laugh!
Anyway, back to his astute observation. It really was more of a criticism of me – but in retrospect, it is one of the few times that I will admit that he is right – and not just about me but about anyone with a cellphone. Yes – that pesky thing that Pat has destroyed on more than one occasion (see The Wrath of Pat – Cell Phones 0, Pat 5). It is a well-known fact that Pat HATES cellphones and I’m pretty sure they are afraid of him. He is currently carrying his own cellphone – but only because when his mother died, she had a cellphone still under contract so in his infinite cheapness, he felt it should be used. It is a flip phone – so no internet, no playing games on it. He can barely take a picture with it and he couldn’t send it to anyone if he did – not because the phone isn’t capable but because Pat isn’t capable. He doesn’t understand how to text and he never reads any of the ones he receives. He doesn’t listen to voice mails (doesn’t know how to get to them) – so why would he look at a written message. So, when Pat made his comment to me about cellphones, I initially just ignored him because … well because I was busy playing Bingo on my phone and I was close to winning the game.
After I finished my game and started actually thinking about what he had said, I realized that I am rarely present when talking to my husband, my children or my friends. And the same can be said about them for me – except for Pat as previously explained. We have become a society that is constantly on the phone – not usually talking to someone – God forbid we actually use the phone for its intended usage. No, we are playing a game, texting someone, taking a picture, watching a video, looking up something on Wikipedia, reading the news feeds and of course, checking how many “likes” we got on our latest posting to Facebook, Twitter or other social media. This is done in large groups, small groups or in some cases we can do it when we are alone.
As my husband put it so nicely (actually, he was kind of snarky about it) – our cellphones have become adult pacifiers. When a baby cries because it is bored, we give it a pacifier. When an adult is bored, they pull out their cell phone and start looking at Facebook. When a baby is fidgety, we give it a pacifier. When an adult is fidgety, they start playing a game on their phone. When a baby is hungry and we need a little more time to get a meal ready, we give it a pacifier. When an adult is waiting in line at the restaurant, they start looking at their newsfeed or reading their emails.
As a baby gets older, instead of pacifier – we start engaging the child in talking, playing and interacting. Apparently, this is all reversed upon become an adult. Instead of engaging people around us, we take a deep dive into all that our cellphones have to offer – except of course, actually calling another person. We teach our babies to be social and then we allow ourselves and other adults to be anti-social by using our phone for entertainment instead of being entertained by those around us. We teach our babies to talk while we become silent as we text others instead of calling and talking to them. We teach our babies to play together while we isolate ourselves with our gadgets.
We have become so complacent with our adult pacifiers that we forget to look up and see those around us – we have fallen asleep while using our pacifiers – much like a baby falls asleep while sucking on theirs. While we are using our pacifiers, the world is passing us by – our children are growing up thinking that it is okay to ignore the people around them so they can finish one more game on their phone – much like I did with my beloved husband.
So – as much as I hate to admit it – Pat is absolutely right. It is time for me to put down my pacifier and start playing, laughing, talking and living with those around me. I’ll save my pacifier for when I’m alone – or better yet – when I actually have to make a phone call.