Had this been the 1950’s and the days of June Cleaver, all would be fine and jolly because I wouldn’t have said “shit” if it was on my upper lip. Even if I had, no one would have been the wiser. No one would have heard about it. No one would have read it. No one would have watched it. No one would have known. Life would carry on, blissfully unaware.
But June Cleaver hasn’t crossed generations, much less lips, out here in the middle of the cornfields, down at the end of Crass Lane.
I’m known to say things not intended for folks outside of these four walls, and especially not to be featured in today’s viral Vine. I make obscene gestures meant not for the latest Snapchat story, but instead for the back of the head of the driver of the van that just cut me off, speeding to get junior to soccer practice – one eye on the road while the other scrolls her Pinterest feed. The glare I just gave the moron who was loudly vomiting rude and humiliating vitriol at his family at the local restaurant wasn’t practiced for Instagram. And I hadn’t imagined that my snarky comment to the obnoxious telemarketer would be today’s trending Tweet.
In our increasingly technology-reliant world, it’s easy, and practically expected, to have everything at our fingertips – from news and sports coverage to shopping, how-to videos, work e-mails – and basically work – to up-to-the-minute coverage of what your friends and family are doing at any given moment of any given day. In my opinion, this information overload has become just that: information overload.
In 2014 I came across this blog post by Jarrid Wilson, someone I’d never heard of. His proclamation to divorce his phone went viral and many jumped on the bandwagon. And then the wheels fell off, the notion died, the wagon got stuck in the mud, and everyone went back into their blue LED hypnotic trance.
Two years ago, when I was going through heavy metal detox (a long story for another time), I could barely be in the same room with a cell phone, much less use one. I turned it off often and used it infrequently. When my relationship with portable technology changed, my eyes, ears, and perspective opened. I had time. Time to read a real book, take a walk, or lollygag on the porch swing without a care. I had time to write, to have an actual conversation with real-live family and friends, and I had time to sleep. Deep, restful sleep. Sometimes I even cleaned my house.
A cell phone is a handy and useful gadget. It’s a critical connection to those we love and care about. It allows help and rescue to be mere minutes away. But it can also be a source for mass destruction. Destruction of relationships, peace, another’s emotional well-being, and of course time. Cell phones destroy time with loved ones, time for self, time to live, and time to simply be.
I dare you to give pause as your finger hovers over “upload,” “retweet,” or even “follow.” It’s all fun and games until someone loses their kindness and their awareness. You may find yourself to be the next subject of the latest candid capture. And you may or may not be smiling.