It had been almost three hours since my phone rang, it literally became a paperweight on my desk as I stared and stared at it wondering when it would burst back to life. Two local service providers had encountered issues with their service and let us know that this would take a while to fix, “all voice calls and some SMS services will be affected by this outage and we are working hard to try and fix this inconvenience as soon as possible” followed by silence for the rest of the evening from their end.
Naturally this news that our reliable service provider would not be able to do the one job it had to do would inconvenience us for a few more hours and what soon became most of the night was met with rage and shrieks of misery. Comments included demands for discounts and threats to switch companies and complaints that people simply couldn’t go on living their lives on a Wednesday evening because they were incapable of texting and making calls. The horror, the pain! It’s as if suddenly, without our cellphones to distract us and make us feel important, we were forced to sit down with ourselves and actually hear the thoughts in our heads and spend time alone not knowing what was happening around us.
And that apparently was simply a total and complete disaster.
We’ve become so depended on this beautiful meshing of metal, glass and technology that we’ve forgotten the beauty of a thoughtful conversation and human interaction. We have literally stopped speaking to each other because we are so caught up with our phones and our text messages and our technology in general. We need to be connected every minute of the day every day of the week and the minute something goes wrong in our perfect technology world, we lose it because the thought of being alone with ourselves is terrifying. How can we find out what our friends are doing? How can we find out where everyone is? What they’re doing? Who they’re speaking to? How can we live another second without being able to communicate through our phones?
Past generations used landlines to speak to each other and would actually have hour long conversations that were significant and purposeful. They would go out and meet each other, enjoy one another’s company and walk away from the meeting with new thoughts, ideas and insight on life without the constant interruption of a ring or a ding from their cellphones. They were less stressed out, less concerned with our surroundings and more alive, living every moment without having to stop and check ourselves in or text a friend or call someone to share this moment with. Today we go out and find solitude simply to tell the world: “Hi, I’m sitting all alone in my tent now contemplating life and I’m loving every second! Just thought I’d let you know.”
Today, we don’t enjoy each other’s company, we sometimes don’t even care for it, it would be much easier for you to simply text me whatever you want and I’ll respond if and when I feel the need. We barely talk on the phone because we just don’t have time for it anymore, text it or message me on Facebook or send me email. We’ve convinced ourselves that we lead incredibly busy lives and have much more important things to do than appreciate one another’s presence, we just show each other we care by liking posts on Facebook or actually responding to your text messages. Our existence is literally confirmed through technology, we only feel alive when we’re receiving messages or growing our followers online, the day you post something online and it doesn’t receive any type of positive feedback is the worst day of your life, it probably feels worst than a friend telling you that they will never speak to you again. We’ve associated our importance with the technology we were given and the response we receive from these channels: if the response is high then we must be cool people, if the response is low then we must be uncool people. We confirm friendships and relationships on Facebook because we all know that if it’s not online then it’s not official.
The ranting and raging continues on the Facebook pages of these service providers who now have a national issue confirming our existence on planet earth. The longer this issue goes, the more time we are forced to spend with ourselves and our thoughts, some thoughts that many would rather drown out with the noise that technology has created in our lives. Sadly, most people have set up camp in front of their laptops, the same people that can’t imagine life without this lifeline or tolerate the voices in their heads or the physical company of another human being. We need to wake up from this trance, we’re missing out on the best years of our lives because we are glued to some form of a screen. The view outside is beautiful, much more beautiful than the one on your phone or laptop background, you should really go out and see it.