Every day there’s either some new article, 13 things nostalgic listicle, or the same circulated article your parents and their friends and their friend’s friends keep sharing in solidarity of those ancient 1980s—that cries for a better time when we weren’t immersed in technology. When the internet was still a special box in the back room of the school library. When, in order to make a phone call away from home, you actually had to search and find one and pay for it. When the only way we connected was to connect.
Let’s jump past the obvious irony that I’m typing this on my phone and go straight to the opinion. Personally, I don’t disagree. We as a species are FLOODED with information daily; hourly. News is no longer a quick run and turn the TV or radio on or nosedive into a paper. It’s a one course meal and it’s spicy, bud. We wipe our teeth clean of the insanity with a wash of minty fresh memes and viral videos in which to infect us with laughter or common bond relatable content. After, it’s a nice, thick, fluffy pillow of swiping through hours of tweets and clearing away those pesky mass snaps you don’t care about until you pass out long enough to whistle along to the dinner bell the next night. It is an incessant blood flow seeping through millions of veins like wires and feeding through your lungs, into your heart, and down the street to old Mrs. Mary Chyzenski’s house. It only spread like wildfire anymore because each of us is now holding a match.
At this point I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why did he start like he was against those articles, but then agree with them?” Well, shut up. Let me get to the point in this paragraph before you’re antsy to go Instagram scrolling or Tweet trolling again. It’s funny that, as I’m spitting all this out onto my phone, I’m in a restaurant. The usual suspect of topic in the aforementioned articles where we are supposed to put our phones down and talk to each other, but it doesn’t seem so. Most of the movement is by the wait staff whizzing by trying to correct mistakes or check on their folks. We get it, Table 12, your third round of bread hasn’t come to the table yet. There’s little happening at any table. A few laughs here and a few more babies crying bloody murder over there (that’s a vegan friendly joke considering I’m at Texas Roadhouse). Here’s where the fun part comes in; the only phone out above a table or out of pocket is mine, seeing as I’m eating alone and felt inclined to write this. But still, nothing. It’s 4:15 on a Saturday. I see folks out to treat themselves for dinner, some slightly dressed up having just finished some event, and some families that are just out for the sake of. Now, I’m not saying all, but a lot of these patrons are barely speaking to the other. A few lines dropped here and there but it’s almost a still life. Now while you try to picture how sad an artist must be to paint a still life of a Texas Roadhouse, I wanna tell you, technology is not destroying relationships and communication. Relationships and a lack of communication are destroying them. If there’s nothing to talk about, there’s nothing to say, and it’s as simple as that. General etiquette will tell you, if a phone is out, the person is bored; looking for something new. Even common sense will tell you that if a person isn’t engaged, there is a lack of interest, and in order for communication and healthy relationships to work, all of these things need to go hand in hand…in hand. Engagement, communication, and healthy bonding. We as a species have a tendency to hide the truth, and instead of being honest with each other and saying that we’re bored or uninterested, we carry on through the unnecessary chatter and find something to do until it’s over and make up excuses when confronted. Instead of leaving for discomfort or cancelling for lack of interest, we’d rather power through and pretend we’re not bored. Small talk is awkward enough, and now you want me to spend an hour or more doing it? I don’t care about the weather, let’s talk about how footballs were once actually made of pig skin. Unless…oh, you’re vegan. That’s a can of worms. ABORT. Look around you at a group or a couple who are having fun together and you probably won’t see them on a phone. They’ve bonded and are able to enjoy each other’s company for just that. Each other’s company. On the less than rare chance that you do see it in this instance, typically speaking they’ll be showing each other memes or news articles to subsequently discuss over a nice plate of chicken tenders (Or “chicken critters” as Texas Roadhouse so whimsically put it.) Maybe even checking messages for the rest of their group to join.
So, where I defer is that we don’t spend too much time immersed in technology as much as we don’t spend enough time bonding with each other as people. Forming and building relationships based on honesty and trust and company. Being able to enjoy friends or lovers with or without technology. But, I’ll hand it to you, technology is a super convenient place to cast blame. I’m not completely denying that it’s a hand grenade pin held closed by a sweaty, shaky hand. Even if that means sitting around on Facebook commenting on threads reminiscing about the good old days without actually realizing you’ve spent the entire day on Facebook. Mom. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s an assumption stemming from some insecurity I have about not building healthy relationships. Maybe people are more intensely together than I give them credit for. But everything else feels like a mournful loss of aging cool kids struggling to keep up. Which is understandable and I feel for that. I’m a millennial who is sometimes left playing catch up. It’s a fast world.
Either way, technology is a wonderful advancement to society, so shut up, Susan from Kenosha on Facebook.
– Sent from my iPhone