On looking up
I was walking down my yoga studio’s narrow staircase while a woman was jogging up. Out of courtesy, she stopped so I could pass. While waiting for me to squeeze by – which would take all of five seconds – she pulled out her phone.
Better to do something while waiting for five seconds – do not engage.
I’m totally guilty of this type of behavior. So after the stair incident, I made a conscious decision to be aware of the times I grabbed my phone.
- While in line at the market, I looked around and almost every one was on their phone. The temptation to dig into my bag and pull out my phone was strong.
- As I stood on a corner waiting for the light to change, I reached into my pocket.
- Before heading into yoga, I did a quick check of my phone one last time just in case anyone had called, texted or emailed me since the last time I checked – which was five minutes prior.
How has the phone managed to get a hold on so many of us?
I’ve come up with two reasons:
1. The phone is part of that whole busy epidemic. Busy, apparently, is good. Writer Tim Kreider says in “The ‘busy’ trap” that: “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”
2. Life may pass us by.
If we don’t put the time in to get stuff done, of course life will pass us by. But standing on a corner and gazing off into space while waiting for the light to change probably won’t subtract any points off our lives.
Sure, if we put our cell phones down for a day or two we may miss that cute picture of a friend’s baby wearing sunglasses and a couple of breaking news stories. But won’t we see that again? Is there anything that we (i.e. phone/Internet lovers) haven’t seen or heard already?
In the end, a phone break may produce a refreshing outlook that’ll convince us to look a stranger in the eye and smile at someone who may be having a bad day – granted of course, said stranger isn’t too busy staring at their phone.