Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Small Addictions

I was going to use the words, “small addictions” to describe my relationship with my tablet and phone. This didn’t feel right especially when my phone is beside me every moment of the day. Even when I go out for a walk I have an irrational fear that I’m going to encounter someone impaled on something and the speed at which I can dial 911 is the only thing that will save them. I also have images of being mugged by middle schoolers or needing to get a pic of Bigfoot going through the neighbor’s garbage.

None of this stuff ever happens. But as soon as I leave my bulky phone at home I know some impaled person will have to pay for my choice with his/her life.

What’s worse is my hypocrisy when I see other people using their devices. I’ll think, “It’s a shame how that guy chooses to stare at that phone instead of interacting with his family. Look how sad his kids look. Look how frustrated his wife is. I hope he feeds his pets. He’s going to die all alone.” That’s about the time I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket. Unless I’m at the dentist or pinned under something heavy, I almost never hesitate to grab it.

I just stopped typing to pick up my phone. It was an email from Deb about Julia’s school orientation. I read it and then returned to typing. Is that wrong? I really wanted to know if Julia was nervous so a little “blog pause” isn’t a big deal. It’s no big deal to chop up everything that I do into little portions. Not to be melodramatic, but I suspect my behavior means those deep dives into any activity are gone. Everything comes in short, powerful (sometimes overwhelming) bursts. My life is fractionated. I download songs, not albums. I read spoilers and skip the theater. Instead of conversing I trade quips. A magazine article seems like a heavy commitment and a book might as well be a marriage. I look at my family and most times there’s a screen in front of their faces.

Should I complain? I am soaked in information. I’m accustomed to getting immediate, useful answers to every query. I feel in control and in touch with most of the things I need to accomplish each day. And despite not being in the same space as them, I am connected to people in unexpected and delightful ways.

I’m not sure where I was going with this post. My phone just buzzed. Mom just liked my picture of a flower on Instagram.