Terri Kaiser

Sound familiar? If you have a cell phone, you've possibly said that many times. Yet, they are handy little buggers to have. At one time, I had a very basic Tracfone and that seemed to be enough. It served me well for my meager needs. I didn't use it much and railed against allowing a phone to take over my life. Never, I thought, will I become one of them.

An insurance seminar two years ago cemented this conviction of mine. When the speaker called for a break, I thought I'd use the opportunity to get to know my neighbors, but everyone on either side of me at the long table pulled out their phones and were lost deep in the tech cosmos of cell-phone-mania. I got up and went for a short walk to stretch my legs.

It finally took being left out of conversations between my sisters and my kids that brought me to the dark side. One of them exhaustingly said, “Mom, if you would just text!” So then, I thought, how hard can all this technology be? Still, I will not, I swear, become dependent upon a phone. I broke down and bought an iPhone.

Sad, isn't it, this lack of face-to-face contact these days? Now, I don't mean to sound like an old prune, but I guess I am. Never did I think I would be one of those people so attached to their phones, but alas, I have my moments. While standing in line or in a waiting room, it's so easy to pull out the phone and begin scrolling on Facebook, Instagram, email and the internet. What ever happened to reading a magazine while you wait, or striking up a conversation?

Maybe, aside from the convenience, the removal of emotion is what is so appealing about these phones of ours. It's so easy to refuse an invitation, or deliver an excuse for a missed meeting, or simply say, ‘gee, I didn't see that text' when clearly, we did. Of course, there are those times texting can become emotional, especially when we hit send before taking a deep breath and considering what words just flew out of our fingers.

Then there are those instances when texting that we forget we are part of a group conversation. I've done that, then nearly had a stroke as I rushed back into the conversation to see who all had been a part of it, and if I'd offended anyone. My sisters and I were having a long conversation by text one evening. Suddenly, there was a message from someone asking, “Who are you people?” Oh boy. Somehow we'd included someone by mistake. We had a good laugh over that one. Hope the other guy did as well.

Have you noticed at family gatherings that everyone is on their phones? It's simple. Two words. “Phones down.” I encourage everyone to thwart the invasion of phones into our lives by making this simple declaration, then enjoying the look of panic on their faces.

In the meantime, continue to try to remember that this small piece of metal and glass does not constitute a substitute for face-to-face. When we hit those 'dead' areas with no bars, take a minute to remember what it was like before our phones became so darned important to us. Turn to the person you're riding with and say, “what's new?” or “nice day, huh?” or “you've got some lunch on your chin.”

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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