The other day I was driving home from work when I drove past a bus stop. There were several people waiting for the bus, all of them with their heads down looking at their phone. It looked quite stupid, to be honest.
I thought to myself about when I used to catch the bus from school to my part-time job at 15. While I was waiting, I would either talk to my friends who were also getting the bus or stand looking for the bus, willing it to arrive faster. I survived that.
When I was on my lunch that day, I was eating dinner and scrolling through my phone. I then remembered those people at the bus stop and put my phone down. There were 4 or 5 others at my table, all on their phone. I turned around and there were a group of 3 others sat together but not talking. Head looking at the device in their hands.
I am the first person to admit that my phone is my favourite thing. I love it. It keeps me in daily contact with my friends that live all over the world. It lets me check my emails, keeps me up to date on the news and provides hours of entertainment in the way of videos, social media and games.
But when did we get the point where phones were replacing people? The thing that was invented to help connect people and help us communicate with others is now the thing that prevents us from communicating with others.
It’s like we’re afraid of dead time. We can’t just sit and daydream when we have 5 minutes. We have to be entertained. We have to mindlessly scroll through Instagram or catch up on group chats. It’s sad, really. I’ve forgotten how much I really like daydreaming. It’s fun and is often a time when I get new ideas for blog posts. Why am I not letting myself daydream more?
Why instead do I click on my email, then work email, then Facebook messenger, then Whatsapp, then Instagram, then Twitter, then whatever else to get absolutely nothing out of it? It’s like I’m on autopilot. It’s like I’m looking for something I never find because I don’t really know what I’m looking for, so I just check everything again and again and come away feeling not very satisfied.
I put my phone down during lunch the other day and had a conversation with one of my colleagues instead. I found out that he has a 9-year-old daughter that has heart disease. They found out her heart wasn’t working properly at 3 days old and she spent the first few months of her life in the hospital. She’s had open heart surgery several times and will have to have another operation very soon. They gave her a life expectancy of 6 years – 14 years. She could have a heart attack at any time. My colleague said that sometimes in a morning if she’s not awake yet, he is sometimes scared to go into her room. Just in case.
I’ve worked with this man for 8 months and had no idea.
I wonder what other things I’d learn about my colleagues if I spent more time talking and less time with my face in my phone.
Time to find out.