The doctor”s office. A place where people wait…and wait…and wait some more right? So I”m there yesterday, filling out my paperwork and watching Robin Meade and Sanjay Gupta explain the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, when it occurs to me that no one else in the entire waiting room brought anything with them to do while they wait. I turn in my paperwork to the young, gum-chomping girl in scrubs behind the desk and I sit down (to wait of course) and prepare to dive into the latest Jodi Picoult novel when I stop for a moment and look around me.
Over there, yeah…right there, is a young woman with a newborn. She”s texting on her cell phone. I can tell it”s obviously something serious by the scowl on her face. Next to me is the young couple who is expecting, each with their cell phones in hand tap, tap, tapping away, not saying a word to one another as if they were in their own little worlds. Off to my right…no a little further to my right…yeah, right there…is yet another woman using her cell phone to bide her time in the waiting room.
I can”t tell you how sad this made me feel. Am I the only one in the entire world who still reads actual books printed on paper…where you have to physically turn a page to get to the next part of the story? Have we become so lazy that we insist on “clicking” instead of expending the energy to turn a page? Why do I feel Amish because I am not on my cell phone right now? Wouldn”t the couple sitting next to me be better served to take this opportunity to maybe talk about names for their new little one, or maybe discuss parenting techniques or nursery themes? In today”s hectic world why are we all so “wired in” to the point where we can”t spend a few moments in actual conversation with other human beings or heaven forbid, reading a book? I”m begining to think that old-fashioned “books” are for cavemen. Who needs a book when you have Kindles and e-books?
What really gets to me though is when I am riding in the truck with my husband and our kids and see other families doing the same thing; driving somewhere together and BAM…there it is…both Mom and Dad talking on separate cell phones while the kids are watching a DVD in the back of the minivan. Or better yet, Mom OR Dad talking on their cell phones completely ignoring the other person. Now I am a rational person, I understand I am taking this all out of context. Maybe one of them (or both of them) are doctors with patients who are on Death”s door and their cell phone conversations are a matter of life and death, right? Maybe, but highly unlikely. I would love for everyone to just take one day a week and put the cell phones away. Turn those suckers off and re-engage in life with your family. Ask your spouse how their day was. Hug your kids and sit and listen to them tell their silly stories, uninterrupted by the ring or casino game bleep or blip of a cell phone. Just one day. We won”t die, will we?
Finally I am called into the nurse”s screening room. Somewhere between “Are you allergic to any medications that you know of” and “Is your blood pressure always that low? By all accounts you should be dead.” her cell phone rings. She interrups my screening to take a phone call from a telemarketer. Seriously? Here we go again…
My point is this, we as a people have gotten sucked into this notion that we have to constantly be “in the know”. We have conned ourselves into believing that if we miss one Tweet or one Facebook posting we won”t be the popular kid anymore. If I don”t know where all of my 250 Facebook friends are at every moment of thier day I am not truly their friend. But what is the cost? Are we losing the ability to connect with eachother face to face: to sit down with our spouses and kids and really touch base and give them our undivided attention? I remember as a kid some of my best memories are of times spent with my brothers and sisters outside stomping around in the woods or shooting hoops until the sun went down. We had some of the best talks during those times; and I”m afraid our youth are missing out on the magic that happens in moments like these. It”s those moments that have made me who I am today, and I think I turned out pretty well! My suggestion…a good old-fashioned Family Game Night, followed by a bedtime story of course. It”s just what the doctor ordered.
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