I stepped out into the foggy morning, the scent of seaweed, ripe from heaving itself upon the shore, wafting up the block to me. The moisture on my face feels divine and the scent reminds me why I live here, where nature can touch. …. Drat that doggone cellphone ringing in my pocket! So much for reverie.
The first person I ever knew with a home phone answering machine was a friend named Steve Arkfeld who inhaled helium and then sang his greeting into the phone. My dad thought he was pretty hip because he had one of those cinder block-sized phones attached by a coiled wire to his car’s dashboard. When I first moved to Cambria in 1981, push-button phone service was not quite available yet. I maintained a rotary dial for many years even after that anyway. My, how things have changed.
In a conversation last night, someone mentioned some other friends of ours who were dining in a nice restaurant. At some point, the waiter came over with a plate of free appetizers for them because the staff had noticed that they were the only ones in the whole place not glued to cellphones or other devices. Wonderful to be appreciated like that. Pitiful that this is the state of things.
I apologize if I have ranted about this before, but it is just as much a lecture to myself as anyone else, to remember/work on creating by setting an example and nagging, some rules of etiquette. You see, I have gone to the dark side: I got a “smart” phone. What can I say? My trusty ol’ phone of many years took a plunge into a freshly swabbed toilet, never to be revived again, no matter how many days it sat in rice.
(I’d been told that pulling off the back, removing the battery and putting the lot into a bag of rice for a few days might draw out enough moisture to save the device. That did not happen for me, unfortunately.)
I would never have gotten a cellphone in the first place if it were not for work. In the massage business, she who answers the call gets the appointment.
But why an iPhone? I justified it with the excuse that I can take credit card payments with it. Good for business, right? I don’t know. … However, I must admit, with a new grandchild, it’s kind of cool to just whip out the photos with the touch of a button.
OK, and, while I am a genius with a good map, those are harder to come by, and the GPS did save me a lot of driving in circles while venturing on my own into Amish country recently.
“Turn left at the red barn, drive around the cornfield three times to the left and then to the right — I said ‘right’ — wave your arms out the window slowly at the buggies, and you’re there.” Neat.
And while I support the use of iPads in the school, knowing their benefits in that setting, giving your 2-year-old one? No. Going to a restaurant and want to keep them occupied? I used a lunchbox of action figures, crayons and paper. You could still interact with them, not interrupt a video game, and they were happy.
Another friend last night remarked how dumbfounded she was when she went to Disneyland last Christmas with its spectacular decorations and all. … And almost every one of those tens of thousands of people were bowed to their screens. Wow.
Be in the moment! Taste your food, notice how it feels in your mouth, how it smells. Look your friends in the eye and at least pretend you are interested in what they are saying. Trust me on this: You’ll be grateful for the same respect some time. Turn off your phone or leave it in the car or at home more often than you think is possible. We lived without them since the beginning of time. A few hours will not be a matter of life and death (I know that will raise some arguments).
Life is worth more when you actually participate in it.