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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Remaining Disconnected

More and more frequently, I find myself corresponding with my children by email. I might find something online I want to bring to their attention or feel the need to remind them of something early in the morning while they are still in bed. I know that sounds a bit old fashioned. So many people these days have moved on to communicating with their kids via text messaging or email via phone or something like that. We haven't gone that route yet, and I'm not altogether convinced that I want to.

Munchkin #1 and I had a great drive home last night and she was telling me that sometimes it really bothered her when she is with her friends and they start pulling out phones and reading and sending messages while they are hanging out together. I see this all the time--adults are just as guilty--and it drives me a little bit crazy, too. I followed a woman and her two daughters through the grocery store the other day and all three of them were busy on their cell phones as they shopped. The mother was talking, and the daughters were both texting and walking. They might as well have each been alone. It made me sad, how little they interacted with each other.

We just graduated to owning a second pre-paid minutes phone, the reason being that we find ourselves going in different directions enough these days that I want to be able to send the "emergency" cell with more than one person. I truly don't want to be "connected" any more than that. I don't want my internet in my pocket. It's easy enough to get distracted and lose time to the computer. As cool as all those gadgets and applications might be, I fear continual access would start to feel like a chain around my neck. I'd like to think that it leaves me free to share the casual greeting on the street, exchange a smile, or just really tune in when I'm hanging with friends and listen to what they have to say with my whole body and heart.

I understand the phone as a tool. What I have trouble wrapping my mind around is the phone as the center of  the world. We are becoming like Pavlov's dogs, salivating every time the bell rings. Just make a decision to turn it off on occasion. Keep the space between the ears clear for picking up on other signals. There are messages everywhere, after all, and those on the phone will still be there when you want to get to them later.

Maybe it's the instant access I have trouble with. As a person, I still want my personal space. I want to be able to isolate myself when I chose. I want to be able to open my world to others, and then close it off again when I need to spend time with myself, or narrow my focus to only those I am with for the moment.

I suppose I might feel differently one day. Perhaps if I had a little more spare change to spend on new toys and gadgets, I'd be more tempted, though I certainly hope there will never come a day when I walk through the store with a family member without uttering a single word to them directly.

I'm content to remain disconnected.


heymom said...

I really don't like cell phones. Not mine, not any. I have a friend that calls me several times a day...with nothing really to say except "What are you doing?". I hate it but worry that if I don't answer it could be important. Mollie is like your oldest. She gets so annoyed with her friends that do nothing but text. She thinks they are so lame! She refuses to use her phone except for special occasions or emergencies. Gotta love those kids that think for themselves.

bs said...

At a dinner last night, the conversation is going great...
then the cell rings and we stop
talking while they are on the phone?
What's wrong with this picture?
Am I rude to ask them to leave the
table so we can talk?
I have not yet gotten up the nerve,

LoryKC said...

It's rude for them to remain at the table and talk.
I love that you think emailing your kids is "old-fashioned." How fast is life moving that that is old communciation? ;)