July 12, 2012

Do you like this?

Last night I witnessed a travesty of social interaction that I thought would never happen as long as people were actually still trying to get laid. I saw a couple on a dinner date, sitting across from each other, playing on their individual smart phones for what seemed to be the entire meal. Really?! I hope they were texting each other, because whomever was receiving those texts with was the real dinner date.

What’s wrong with people these days? Why is it so necessary to know what is going on everywhere other than where you are right now? First and foremost, it’s rude. It clearly indicates that anyone else out there is more important than that person right in front of you. This type of rudeness in our A.D.D. society is becoming increasingly accepted as “multi-tasking.” It’s sad.

When I am out with friends, my phone stays in my pocket. If it buzzes, and I know that someone is trying to contact me, most of the time I’ll wait until a break in the conversation or bathroom run to check my phone. But I have friends who will maintain three and four texting conversations with people who aren’t present, while half listening to what’s going on right in front of them. Then when we laugh at something they should’ve heard and didn’t, we have to repeat it so they only have to really pay attention the A-list material coming from the table.

I’ve noticed though, when the two sexes are at the same table as a group, whether just friends or more, they will forego their sudden need to find something better going on and pay attention to the analog conversation likely in hopes of becoming one of those dinner date couples who are free to text away.

Men and women share an unquenchable thirst for the capabilities of a smartphone, although both are quite different in its use. Men want a phone that can handle the latest and greatest apps, videos and gaming. Ladies, on the other hand, seem to be more interested in a phone with a keyboard that makes texting as effortless as possible—especially while driving.

The biggest difference in the sexes when it comes to smartphones however, is how both keep them ready for wearing out on a daily basis. When I wake up each morning, like all guys I know, my smartphone is on the nightstand freshly charged. In fact, it’s my alarm clock. I unplug it and it remains in my pocket or no more than three feet away from me—at all times. If you call my phone and I don’t answer, your next call should be the paramedics.

Every female I have ever encountered, however, has no idea how much juice their phone battery has left at any given time—provided they know exactly where their phone is located at the moment.

Any given night before going to bed, I might brush my teeth if I’ve bothered to at least take off my shoes. But no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, my phone will be plugged into the charger on my nightstand before light’s out.

On the other hand, I’ve witnessed girlfriends take painstaking measures to remove contact lenses, wash their face, brush their teeth and find the appropriate concert T-shirt to sleep in without the slightest notion of where their phone is, let alone if it might need charging. Then they wake up in the morning and sigh, “my phone’s dead.”

Recently I was recalling the days of land lines and answering machines with a friend who’s a little older than me. Back when we were teenagers, the only way to find out where your friends were was to pick up a pay phone, call their machine and hope they were home or knew how to check their messages remotely. Then I realized this same friend doesn’t even have a cellphone. Geez—he is out of touch. Or is he?  

Chuck Crowder is a local writer and general man about town. His opinions are just that.


July 12, 2012

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