Americas cell phone addiction
I come from the home phone, rotary dial generation. I was born and raised in the age of Non-electronics. I have been unplugged half my life, and yet managed to stay better connected in my twenties, then I do now. In recent months, I have seen it become increasingly popular to use cell phones during social situations. Ignoring human interaction has not only become acceptable, but it is now considered normal behavior.
I have noticed that on average, there are three different kinds of cell phone users. The "I own a smart and know how to use it" user. The “I only use my cell phone to talk and text” user. Last on that list is the “my phone is just a phone, and I don’t know where it is half the time" user. I’m sure that there is also a fourth category of users who don’t even own a cell phone, but this is so rare that I have yet to witness it. In my own personal opinion, I find that those with smart phones are the worst addicted of the bunch.
I find nothing funnier than going out to dinner and watching couples share a table while both are consumed by their smart phones. Who are they busy texting? Crazy thoughts then begin to go through my head. Could they possibly be texting each other? I can see the text messages flashing in my head. He texts: What r u wearing? She relies: I'm wearing nothing but a :). He then texts: Want 2 meet later @ my place? I’d love 2 C U! She texts back: I’d Luv 2! I then begin to realize how silly that all sounds and try not to laugh too loud where they can hear me. So if they are not texting each other, then why are they texting at all? What could possibly be more enjoyable then having dinner with a friend or lover and engaging in some good old-fashioned conversation? I'm sorry, but I’m one of those people that does not find that virtual anything is better than the real thing!
Cell phones have now become my new pet peeve when I go out socially. I find it distracting and impossible to talk to someone while they are texting. I also tend to find it extremely offensive and rude. I have, however, managed to cleverly find a way to avoid the all-night surf, talk and texters at social engagements. I noticed early on that nothing irritates cell phone users more than evesdroping.I have found that turning into a nosy Nancy, or peeking patty works like a charm every time! It takes a bit of acting skill, but I have found this to be the best and least confrontational way to make cell phone users stop talking, go away and stop the madness. It may sound wrong doing this but I can raise the bar and rule the air, or at least the space around me.
I cannot interact with someone who cannot engage in intelligent conversation, and cannot seem to get past a simple text message dialog. It seems that unless the conversation pertains to Facebook, twitter, iPhones or iPads silence will soon be dominating the conversation. The highest level of interaction that I achieved at the last social gathering I attended was being asked to take pictures. I can honestly say that not a single soul that I photographed that night was truly having a good time. The following day, however, there so-called friends on Facebook will hear the lies. The pictures will tell a different story, and once again, they will be envied for the good time they never really experienced.
Just like having to sign on-line terms and agreement forms, cell phones need to be sold with a "rules and regulation user agreement." The first rule should be that users agree never to subject anyone in a public place to embarrassing private conversations. Another rule which should never be broken is the use of cell phones in bathrooms. I not only do not want to be subjected to the conversation coming from the next stall, but I also don’t want to be on the receiving end of the conversation. Next on the list should be texting and walking. Just like drinking and driving this offence should come with strict penalties. The penalties should double if you run into someone while doing it.
The only thing worse than the cell phone users are the cell phone companies themselves. I have noticed less and less customer loyalty thru the years. I have friends who have stayed loyal to a company, religiously paid on time and were continuously told how much their business was appreciated. Imagine their surprise when they fell on hard times, missed a payment and learned firsthand how valued a customer they truly were! Personally, nothing makes me feel more patronized then when I call into a call center with a problem, and the customer service representative uses a sympathetic voice to tell me how truly sorry they are to hear about my problem, when I know that they could care less. I'm aware of the fact that the cell phone companies want their employees to say that, but I am buying cell phone service not manure.
Recent surveys have found that 90% of people feel that they daily encounter rude cell phone users and yet only 8% feel that they are sometimes rude. I think that this goes to show that a lot of folks have no true concept of reality. I believe that cell phones have now become America’s latest addiction problem. Just like AA or NA cell phone addiction groups are now springing up in cities all across America. How does one become un-addicted to something that is so vital for everyday life and so commonly used?
It does not surprise me in the slightest bit how fast one can become addicted to cell phones. It still amazes me how quickly my children learned to use their iPhones but yet still haven’t the slightest clue on how to use a vacuum cleaner or load and turn on a dishwasher!
I suppose that for now we have no choice but to deal with the human disconnection. We are being driven further apart by a technology which should have bought us closer together. Every Culture eventually comes up against their limits, and I think we’re getting pretty close to reaching ours. I want to have faith in humanity. I want to believe that we will reconnect with each other instead of drifting further apart. I hope that as a species we awaken soon and realize that we are heading the wrong direction and have the time to turn it all around.