Can you Hear me Now?

Yep, it’s official. I hate cell phones. I may have mentioned that once or twice before, but I’m getting worse. They’re all over the place. You can’t escape them. San Antonio supposedly has a hands-free driving policy. In other words, you should be using both hands on the steering wheel, instead of one on the phone. Only problem is, no one seems to know it. Sure, there are signs all over the place stating said policy, but apparently most drivers can’t read. Nor can they use turn signals, but that’s another rant for another day.

I almost hit a pedestrian the other day. Not my fault! I was doing about 3 miles an hour in the Wal-Mart parking lot and she was walking about five miles an hour. In a hurry, and apparently talking on the phone was more important than looking before she stepped in front of a car. Luckily, I had seen her coming and being clairvoyant, I predicted what would happen. Yep. She looked up about the same time I slammed on the brakes, sheepishly waved at me and continued on her way. Still talking on the phone. You should be proud of me. I resisted jumping out of the car and slapping her, but I was tempted.

We were at a restaurant a few weeks ago, and everyone seemed to be talking on a phone. I noticed one table where a child was sitting, looking around, while his mother talked on her cell. Years from now, that same mother is going to wonder why her child ignores her. I think I can figure out where he learned the lesson.

We ate lunch last week at the Cracker Barrel. I love their food, even if they have stopped selling the fried turkey. I think it’s going to be a seasonal item. Too bad, because it’s good any time of the year. (And in case you’re wondering, yes…I did contact them to complain. But you knew that, didn’t you?) Because the walls are covered in antique stuff, Ed and I got a little nostalgic about all the changes we’ve seen in our lifetime.

Microwaves. When they first came out, I was anti-microwave because it seemed like cheating. Then I ate cooked carrots at my other mother’s house, and I was hooked. Ilene turned me into a microwave fan. Cars. From the Model T to my LaCrosse, my what a change! How did they ever live without air conditioning, Sirius XM, power steering and shock absorbers? Granted the Model T was better than riding a horse, but not by much. TVs. The first ones got about one channel, was black & white, and everyone gathered around it to watch whatever show was on. And counted ourselves lucky. We now have about a million channels and complain because there’s nothing to watch. Yep. We’re spoiled.

Ed brought up the change in phones. As a kid, we had to ring the operator and they’d connect us. (Yes, I’m seriously old. Your point?) Nowadays, everyone walks around with a phone on their hip or in their hand, and they can talk to people on another continent without thinking anything about it. And they don’t need an operator. Good thing, because they’d probably have to punch about two hundred buttons before the automated answerer (Is that even a word?) finally conceded and asked if they wanted an operator.

So, phones are good. With one caveat. They are good if used for their primary purpose. Not good when you fall off a cliff taking a selfie. Not good when you walk into the line of traffic because you’re too busy talking. Not good when you’re staring at a phone instead of your child, or whoever else you’re with. Not good when playing a game is more important than actual human communication. Not good when the ding of the cell overrides all other considerations and you feel compelled to check. Have I mentioned I hate cell phones?

I thought computers and video games had taken over the world, but that’s old news. You don’t even need a computer or video system, because you have a phone. Yes, I game on my iPad. Not on my phone because it’s too small. And I use the laptop for things like e-mail and blog posts because I can type about a gazillion words a minute, but text about one word a minute and it’s normally misspelled. Or auto correct kicks in and even I don’t understand what I just sent. It’s easier on the laptop.

Technology has certainly changed our lives, and not always for the better. Because everyone seems to have a smart phone now, overall nastiness has exploded. On Facebook sometimes, I see comments that a person would never consider making to someone’s face. But they have no compunction about putting it on the internet, for everyone to see. Online bullying has become ridiculous. You must parse all your words just so someone won’t go off on a tangent and turn a seemingly innocent remark into an all-out war. That’s not a good thing.

I know a lot of people think I’m strange because I don’t live on my phone. I don’t think I am…I think I’m smart enough to know there’s a time and place for everything. They have a new app you can turn to alleviate stress. That makes me chuckle, because apps seem to add stress. But I do love my Bible app. I can easily flip between different translations of the same verse much easier than surrounding myself with eighteen Bibles.

I’m not as bad as a friend of mine. I’ve nicknamed him the Unabomber. He hates technology. He won’t even text on his phone and hates Amazon. Even more so because he’s a mailman and must deliver their packages. He prefers brick-and-mortar stores and blames Amazon for their downfall. I prefer those stores, too, but I know Amazon is just a click away if I can’t find something I want. I communicate with him through snail mail or a phone call, because he doesn’t use e-mail, either. So, before you start calling the men in white coats for me, you need to focus in on him. I’m not quite that crazy. Yet.

When I look around sometimes and see literally everyone within shouting distance on a cell phone, I wonder what God thinks about all this. I imagine he’s happy with how far we’ve advanced, but I doubt if he’s thrilled with the mother talking on the phone and ignoring her child. There really is a time and place for everything, and dinner should be a time to reconnect. So how about humoring me and reconnecting by disconnecting? I have a stuffed turkey holding a sign that reads, “No tweeting while we’re eating.” He was designed as a Thanksgiving decoration, but I make sure he’s in full view during family dinners. If I wasn’t such a big coward, I’d buy a billion of them and take them into restaurants with me. Random strangers would end up with a turkey on their table. They probably wouldn’t appreciate that as much as the Cracker Barrel fried turkey, but maybe the reminder would work.

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