I’ve noticed that more and more, people walk around with their phones glued to their ear or to their hands. They stand in the middle of hallways with the phone pressed against their ear, as if their life depended on it. They block stairways, staring entranced into their smartphone as it delivers some absolutely vital nugget of information or entertainment, without which their life would come to an abrupt and bloody end.
In a few short years, the cell phone has become the ultimate “Somewhere Else is Better Than Here” device. The problem with that is that you’re actually living here and now. Important things are happening here and now. When you’re in public, or around other people, get off your cell phone. Put it on vibrate. Even better, turn the darned thing off. Pay attention to what’s happening around you.
Friends of mine who are parents can’t do that. They literally can’t turn the phone off. They have all the symptoms of an anxiety attack at the thought of their kids being unable to reach them for more than three to five minutes. Really? You’re that worried about your kid? Why? Is he or she really so incapable of coping that you can’t turn your phone off? How will they survive when you die someday? It could be today. You could be chattering so intently on your cell phone that you step off the curb in front of an SUV going 90 miles per hour in an attempt to make it to a gas station before they run out of gas.
If you’re really worried about your kids, make sure they’re in a good school, surrounded by peers who will encourage and support them. If your local public schools suck, cancel your cell phone contract and use the money you save to put them in private school. Keep them away from swimming pools—kids mostly die in swimming pools, and their cell phones won’t work under water, so the cell phone won’t save them, anyway.
In short, come back. People are trying to walk by you as you stand transfixed playing Angry Birds in the middle of the hallway. The friends you came with are just two feet away (staring into their smartphones, too). Bring them back. You have a life. You have a world. And you’re missing it!