Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Current Politi-SQUIRREL!!

“Hello iPhone my old friend
I’ve come to touch your screen again
I know I touched it oh so recently
I have to see if someone tweeted me
And if there is a new meme for me to look
There on Facebook
I can’t put down my smartphone”
(My apologies to Simon & Garfunkel)

What is it about our smartphones that has us checking them almost continuously?

Now, before you stop reading, please know that this is not an anti-technology rant. I love my smartphone. I’ve gone from a Palm pilot, to a Tungsten T3 (awesome, by the way), to an iPod, to an iPhone 4, to a Lumia Icon (running Windows), to my current Samsung Galaxy S6 (running Android). And rest assured, I’ve loved using all of them. Most of the podcasts I listen to are tech related. I love this shtuff.

What I’m trying to write my way into understanding is our apparent . . . “fascination” is the wrong word . . . obsession(?) with our smartphones. It’s not uncommon to see a whole group of people gathered together, but not actually BE together - you find them all looking down at their phones.

I’m guilty of this as well. I love spending time with my wife. Actually, I don’t consider it “spending time", rather more like “investing time". Yet, more times than I like to acknowledge, we will be at a restaurant (even for breakfast) and find ourselves pulling our phones out to check email or Twitter.


I’m not going to focus on the phenomenon that takes place like I described above. What I am going to focus on is the fact that we do it when alone.

And I don’t think the smartphone is the problem.

To quote Pogo (Walt Kelly): “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

As I mentioned above, I listen to podcasts. All the time. Whether music, technology, humor, or political, there is almost a constant stream of “noise" going into my right ear (which is where I wear my Bluetooth earpiece). I jokingly tell people that I listen to podcasts so that those voices entering my head override the voices that are IN my head.

And that, I believe, is the point. We do not like being alone with our thoughts. Ourselves.

Or possibly, we are afraid of silence.

Whether the input is going in our ears or our eyes, we seem afraid of being without a distraction; almost forcing us to be with ourselves.

As I write this I’m realizing I have to admit: I am too.

I’ve found that without the distractions I go on verbal rants. Alone. While driving my Jeep to work or home. And not just rants: angry, loud rants.

And I hate that.

I hate that I do that. Which, maybe, just maybe, is the very reason I NEED to periodically remove the distractions. For without acknowledging what is bothering me, I can never address, and hopefully change, it.

What about you? What happens when you DO experience silence?

I’m not going to challenge you to put aside the distractions for a week or so, so that you can come to a better understanding of yourself. Hell no. I won’t even challenge myself with that. Those AT&T commercials of a family freaking out without the internet are funny and all, but FORGET THAT!!

What I will challenge you with is to try and be more aware of the distractions that fill your time. Just be more aware of them. And maybe, just maybe, you can say, “Hello darkness, my old friend.”

©Emittravel 2016

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