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You're driving along with your friend, maybe going out to lunch or simply going to the store. Driving is so enjoyable with a friend along, the silly conversation that is contained in the mobile bubble you both occupy. Or...should I say, it used to be.

You're having lunch with your group of friends, waiting for a late straggler, or just perusing the menu before you all order. The conversation slows to nearly nothing as the menus are put down and the iPhone, Android, iPad, KindleFire, or any other mobile texting/posting device comes out.

Sound familiar?

Jump down past the orange puffy thingamajig and read on.

We as a society have become far too dependent on our devices. Our phones are almost indispensible, as they house not only our phone numbers, but all other pertinent information that we just cannot live without.

It's not that I mind the intrusion of these neato thingies, I enjoy a few of them myself..but when another person is in my presence, I turn my attention to that person and the device becomes secondary. I do not sit with my eyes glued to the small screen that gives me what I demand of it. I do not sit with my head down like some socially withdrawn creature, soaking up the energy and interaction from my electronic juice box.

It irks me to be in the same room with a group of people who are focused on their toys and not upon the reality that is in the same place with them. This will be how we lose our humanity, my friends. This is the borg, and if I were you...I would resist.

I have a friend who is plugged in, no matter where she goes. It's her blood now. I can't blame her, as she truly does interact with everyone online...they become her friends, outside and inside of the pixelated world. However, going anywhere with her or anyone like her, who cannot let their electronic world go, is excruciating and sometimes offensive.

I like to feel I'm actually a part of the outing. I like to feel that the person I'm with is actually there with me. I don't enjoy going out into the populated world much, as I have issues that I readily admit to, and I know what's best for me, so when I do go out...I want the full experience with my companion, not just a half assed excuse to get out.

This is an epidemic that threatens humanity, and I may be exaggerating in your opinion, but in my experiences I've seen it more and more. Unless you appear on that screen in some form, you are a ghost to the Electronic iGeneration.

What's my point?

I'm ranting..and yes, I'm doing it on a computer..but later I'll be out in the hot tub enjoying life, or doing laundry, or maybe playing with my guinea pig...but one thing that anyone with me won't have to wonder is this.... Is Laura really here with me?

I will be.

Get your faces out of your devices and look up.

Hi! I'm a human. I'm sorry I don't have a lot of cool buttons for you to push or my screen isn't a touch screen, and I don't have a lot of memory...but I do have eyes and they're above the screen level.

Please look.

Originally posted to One Thin Paradigm on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:54 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (46+ / 0-)

    You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

    by Kaos on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:54:33 AM PST

  •  Excellent! (13+ / 0-)

    Many times we are out in public, in fact last Tuesday, a group of women came in and sat down for a meal - your exact situation occurred - put their menus down, picked up their smart phones.  not a word was said.

    my son brought his (now ex) girlfriend over and they sat down in the living room.  she texted him from the couch.

    i sat in a restaurant waiting for my meal and remarked to my husband that the table near us a couple sat. did not say one word to each other - and they didn't have phones!

    i'm with you Kaos - we are humans, we have eyes, we share experiences with each other face to face. the way it should be.

    thank you for this diary and enjoy your hot tub (jealous)

    In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?

    by aquadog9 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 08:13:59 AM PST

    •  I wonder if the first group (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      revsue

      Wanted to have a private conversation that others couldn't over hear, so they used their phones. In fact, they could have been conversing with each other and others that were somewhere else.

      Before phones, slang was invented with each generation and different groups to hide what they were saying to each other from those they didn't want knowing what was going on.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:16:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you =) (0+ / 0-)

      I'm simply weary of watching as we all go blindly down a path to borgdom.

      Thanks for reading!

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:44:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Real experiences (6+ / 0-)

    are food for the soul. There is a sayig that on their death bed ever says I wish I would have worked more.

    I would extend that, no experience in the cyber world sticks in my memory and brings me the joy that the simplist momets in the physical.

    It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

    by PSWaterspirit on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 08:25:56 AM PST

    •  I agree, with one exception. (4+ / 0-)

      Two old friends of mine, hundreds of miles away, are each struggling with major health issues.  We are not able to spend time together on a good day, and when one is in the hospital or the other is at the dialysis center, it is really nice to be able to text with each other.

      But of course when I can get away and be with either of them, there is nothing like real time together!!!

      "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

      by JBL55 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:44:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are important exceptions that make the (4+ / 0-)

        gadgets great. Being a MI grandma to a California toddler I am skype grateful.  I already loved idea of Skype just thinking of those separated by oceans or war, but now for selfish reasons.

        Those in person hugs and giggles are most precious of all... but  via skype I got her first  bye bye wave and so on. The other day we got to sing the ABC song....

        Connection with a sick friend, great deal. In fact connection for those who can't get out...a blessing.
        technology is great when we can't be together. Thew drain is when we are together and turn to technology instead.

        Kind of like many things. I say about religion that the problem is that it serves too often as a barrier to spirit, not a bridge. Guess it works to say that technology too often works as a barrier to connection and not a bridge.

        Here's to bridges...

        •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

          I love technology.

          I just detest that it is becoming a social plague.

          The uses for it are astounding, as are the abuses.

          You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

          by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:50:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you (0+ / 0-)

        There are times when this electronic blessing is just that.

        But I've watched as my friend just got sucked up into the touchpad world of iphones and ipads and kindles and anything that would connect her to the group of friends she has online.

        Sometimes I complain, but most times I just sink into my own thoughts as she sinks into her cyber world.

        You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

        by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:47:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  True..very true. (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for reading =)

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:45:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm smiling a bit (and enjoying I must say) (7+ / 0-)

    ...the rather delicious irony of discussing "real human experiences" on a blog, but I very much appreciate your diary/post and the sentiments expressed in it.

    ;-)

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:16:29 AM PST

    •  I'm laughing at the irony as well. (0+ / 0-)

      It was a personal rant, really, but one that is not uncommon to us all.

      I posted here in a blog, on a computer, and while I did so, I ignored my guinea pigs, my whole household and the world outside. lol.

      Thanks for reading =)

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:52:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Confession time (16+ / 0-)

    I'm a tech geek and I don't like smart phones. Heck, I disliked mobile phones before they were smart, I didn't even own one until 2002. I have an Android now and I use it for... wait for it... phone calls.

    I don't like apps because I don't like vendor lock-in and I don't like the confusing jumbled mishmash of differing interfaces. I don't like small screens. I don't like being interrupted by devices screaming for my attention. I don't like texting.

    I like desktop computers with big screens that are there, at my desk, when I want to use them. I like email, that I can check when I want to. I like the general purpose power and control of a desktop computer. It does what I want it to, it's not working for on behalf of corporation.

    Now you kids get off my lawn. Don't make me shake my cane at you again!

    •  I just can't be bothered to keep up (5+ / 0-)

      with technology. My very first computer had 4mb of RAM. You had to create special boot disks to load or disable different drivers depending on what game you wanted to play.

      But at this point, I don't want to learn and relearn new technologies that cost a lot of money to use, and will be obsolete in five years.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:18:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We only go to the movies on Wednesday evenings (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55, LinSea, ceebee7

    because most people are over 60 at the show, and they turn off their goddamned phones.

    I don't have a cellphone and don't really want one--it would be useful if one of us were out of the house alone , and needed to contact the one at home. When we did have a cell, we turned it off when we went out because we didn't want our errands or our dinner interrupted.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:58:18 AM PST

  •  "The Absent Presence" is a perfect way to put it. (6+ / 0-)
    It irks me to be in the same room with a group of people who are focused on their toys and not upon the reality that is in the same place with them.
    I used to feel that way only about headphones, but Smart phones are ten times worse.
    I like to feel I'm actually a part of the outing. I like to feel that the person I'm with is actually there with me.
    To be fully present with each other is the highest form of respect for one another and a sign of true friendship.

    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

    by JBL55 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:49:10 AM PST

    •  Thank you for your comments =) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:56:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  phone stacking game (0+ / 0-)

    Google will give you what it is. If you see this a lot and you don't mind getting angry replies; create some cards with the rules on them and distribute when necessary. Introduce it however nice you want.

  •  They can't do anything else. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, ceebee7

    It is very well thought out behavioral control. First, while the devices appear to be something we need or enjoy at this time, the real purpose is tracking. They provide the first truly portable means of connecting the individual to the man's network. Right now they are giving us a few privileges and a few perks to make us carry the things, but that will soon disappear. Some invisible authority will soon decide who you can communicate with and when. And your activities (primarily work) will be monitored and directed by the minute. Most of your control will be automated, only alerting a real person in authority when something goes wrong, or when your activities fall too far outside your mandated role.

    Of course, those who can;t look up from their device are certain I am paranoid.

    Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
    Mark Twain

    by phaktor on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:36:53 PM PST

    •  =) Thanks for reading (0+ / 0-)

      You made me laugh this morning.

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:58:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's part of my job (3+ / 0-)

    My mobile device allows me to not be stuck sitting at a desk at all times.  Much of my job can be done via my phone, so I can go enjoy a long lunch during work hours and not have to freak out that everything is collapsing without my presence.  It also allows me to have information that I wouldn't otherwise.  For example, if I'm out somewhere and want to find a place to get dinner, it's simply a matter of pulling up Yelp and finding a reliably good place.  If I want to see a movie, that too is easy to find.  The phone will also give me directions (including traffic) so I can know if I can get there on time or not.

    That being said, I do agree with you.  When I'm in the company of someone else, that indicates a commitment to being with them mentally.  If I don't want to be with them mentally, why am I with them physically?

    •  Thank you =) (0+ / 0-)

      There are a lot of instances where these devices are valid and extremely useful. I don't debate that fact at all.

      Running a business or participating in meetings is a thousand times easier when you have alternate ways to be present.

      Socially, I've observed a decline in personal interaction, and as you stated, being with someone indicates a commitment to being with them mentally. I'll shut down my laptop if someone comes to talk to me in my room, I'll turn off my cell phone at the movies and I most certainly won't speak on it while in a store check out line, ignoring the cashier.

      Just a rant, but apparently one that a few others can relate to.

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:03:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just thought I'd mention that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ceebee7

    while reading your insightful diary, I was sitting with my friend at the dining room table, both of us at our laptops, one notebook on, and two cell phones at the ready. I read your writing out loud and we both laughed. I told her she was the one who got me started on all this technology. That was less funny, apparently. Nice to "see" you, Laura.

    I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

    by dannyboy1 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 08:40:43 PM PST

    •  =) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dannyboy1

      The friend I mention in the diary is my roommate and best friend.

      We can frequently be found occupying cyber space on our respective laptops.

      Though our rooms are only a few feet apart, we use Instant Messengers more often than not, simply because I am hearing impaired.

      Her kids used to laugh at us for it, but now they're too busy looking at their ipads and phones to notice.

      Thanks for reading =)

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:08:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking to that... (0+ / 0-)

    Here's a little piece I wrote some years ago that relates to the cellphone experience.  

    It's a score for a performance.  

    If you need context, look up Fluxus or Cornelius Cardew.  Cellophane

  •  Wow, I'm reading this in the hot tub (0+ / 0-)

    on my iPhone. Coincidence? I don't think so...

    •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

      If I could take it down to the hot tub without fear of dropping it in, I'd take my nintendo 3ds.

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:11:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  yes my friends Grey and Cindy address this.... (0+ / 0-)
    •  awesome video (0+ / 0-)

      thanks for sharing.

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:08:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm someone's prisoner (0+ / 0-)

    because I have a silly, stupid, slide phone. Writing is the dumbest thing these days if you ask me Kaos. And I was, and am a shit writer in the first place. sigh

  •  Bravo~! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ceebee7

    This needs to be on the Rec list for a month running~! Not only do they bore the living hell out of me they're dangerous behind the wheel of a car~!

    cclarke1804 1 year ago

    This is the best remedy to blu-tooth assholes in restaurants and trains everywhere!!

    But wait. Are those Blue Tooth things still happenin'? My God. What have we come to?
  •  pity their children (4+ / 0-)

    I see this daily throughout my neighborhood: "Mommy? Daddy? Mommy? Daddy? Mommmmmy, WHEN (where, why etc)..." from a child in a stroller while the caregiver remains obliviously in thrall to a digital device. To paraphrase Kaos from a child's perspective,

    Get your faces out of your toys and look up.

    Hi! I'm a little kid. I'm sorry I don't have a lot of cool buttons for you to push or my screen isn't a touch screen, and I don't have a lot of memory...but I do have eyes, ears, brain, needs, and feelings, and they're above the screen level.

    Please look.

    Now, human caregivers have been tending human children while otherwise occupied for at least a hundred thousand years. But subsistence activities performed with kids aboard or toddling behind haven't generally required the full mental attention of the caregiver; people have had the good sense not to haul tots along on hunting expeditions, for example. This is what is so unique, and developmentally pernicious, about texting while parenting. Our forebears could respond to their kids' needs and questions while grinding corn or picking berries. Too often imho, contemporary parents find digital media irresistibly distracting.

    "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." -- Thomas Jefferson

    by pianogramma on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:32:58 AM PST

    •  Thank you for reading and for your comments =) (0+ / 0-)

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:13:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  lovely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ceebee7

    to everything, there is a season
    and a time for every purpose under heaven

    a time for technology
    and a time to put it down
    and look up...really look

    nicely done, Kaos

    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      I appreciate you taking time to read. =)

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:14:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Texting has been a godsend to one group (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell

    The deaf can now use a cellphone and texting to contact friends pretty easily. Ten or twenty years ago, they'd have to hook up a TTY to a land line and go through a relay service.

    But I agree with you. I hate to see people texting and driving (or even texting and walking). And it drives me nuts when I'm waiting in line to pay for coffee or gas or whatever and the person ahead of me is slowing me down because they're focussed on the little device.

    “If you misspell some words, it’s not plagiarism.” – Some Writer

    by Dbug on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:10:00 PM PST

    •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)

      Being hearing impaired myself, I understand completely how technology has improved the quality of life for those with disabilities.

      I am also supposed to be off my feet most of the time, though I am not. It would be easy to have my groceries delivered, my prescriptions, my other shopping...and all of that is due to the wonderful technology we have now.

      I don't discount it's uses.
      I abhor it's abuses.

      Thanks for reading.

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:17:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would never dream of looking at my phone (0+ / 0-)

    while out to lunch or dinner with a friend. I think that is because my parents raised us that not paying attention to those we are with and not giving them our full attention was rude.  They stressed that strongly throughout their lives. My friends and my sister and my husband would be offended if i was always checking my phone unless I have a damn good reason.  

    For the most part, I am lucky, none of my friends are slaves to their cell phones. Even my sister who visits for a month each summer and she is a texting fiend and uses her cell phone for internet, she never checks her phone or messes it with it while we are eating our meals together or when we are doing an actiivty together. She only does that when we are sitting around the house doing our own thing as she is here for a month.

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:03:44 PM PST

    •  Manners (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell

      It sounds to me like you were raised with manners.

      I was, as well, and that's the fundamental rant underneath the wordy rant that I posted.

      It's common courtesy to pay attention to your companions. When did we, as a society, devalue manners?

      Thank you for reading and commenting =)

      You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

      by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:20:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It started as a rant... (0+ / 0-)

    ..and today I logged on to delete it thinking that it was relevant only to myself (narcissistic thinking there.)

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to read and comment.

    I appreciate your views and your senses of humor.

    You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. -Morpheus/The Matrix

    by Kaos on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:23:30 AM PST

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