21st Century Technology Addiction

Sometimes life can take you by surprise with how busy it is.  We give up things that matter to us because we get so preoccupied with taking care of all the nitty-gritty details of daily life; paying bills, making sure the cat is fed, writing that 10 page research paper that’s due tomorrow, etc.  The first thing to go so often for me is writing.  I wish it weren’t the case because writing is something that I really enjoy.  It’s a great release!  But each time I give up writing for an extended period of time, and after enough time goes by, I realize how much I truly miss it and want to immerse myself in it again ASAP.

…. The problem is picking it back up.  You can’t just pick up where you left off.  You have to wait for something to strike you.  Something you find particularly remarkable and worthy of your followers’ attention… if you even have followers anymore…

Anyway, I finally got my “noteworthy” bit of life and decided that I could finally pick up the pen again, so to speak.

Technology.  Laptops.  Smart phones.  When did young Americans become so dependent on immediate access to the internet 24/7?  I mean, I have known for ages that people poke fun at my generation for being so into our technology.  Usually though I just brush it off and chalk it up to the older generation’s unintentional failure to keep up with our rapidly changing modern technology.  It is just a generational divide.  No big deal.  WRONG!

This past week I finally caught a glimpse of the technology dependency issues and inability to interact with other human beings because of that dependency.

I won’t lie.  I am certainly guilty of using my own smart phone in social settings.  Sure, I’ve shot a text message to a friend in the middle of a crowded party or scoped out the weather in the morning while inadvertently ignoring my boyfriend’s chatter (God love him).  However, I would like to think that I possess enough self-restraint to know when enough is enough and when my smart phone usage is just obscenely inappropriate.

Picture this: You’re in the Irish countryside.  You’ve spent the past two days on a whirlwind tour of the city and you just want to kick back and relax for an evening by the sea in your hotel bar with your friends and recap on all the fun things you’ve done and all of the things you’re hoping to see together in the coming days.  You go up to the bar and order a pint of Guinness, chat for a moment with the old man ordering a beer next to you, and then you turn around to your table to see three heads looking down with the white glow of their smart phone LCD screens shining in their faces.  Perhaps momentarily taken aback, you decide to give them the benefit of the doubt because, let’s face it; this is the only place you’ve sat down in the past two days with a reliable Wi-Fi connection.  You think they will just quickly check for messages before setting their pocket computers down and engaging in their actual lives –  you know, the ones happening on vacation in a foreign country.

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I cannot tell you how disappointed I was to be greeted with the same scenario for seven days.  Not just in the hotel bar. No, this happened on any means of public transportation we hopped onto that might have a wireless connection.  Or in restaurants where you had to even go out of your way to ask for the password for the wireless connection.  The Guinness Storehouse, the train station, the pubs, shopping malls, everywhere!

Maybe it’s just me, but when someone spends 90% of their time in my presence with their face buried in their technology, I feel like they are waving a giant sign in my face that says, “F^ck you, my phone is WAY more interesting than I could ever possibly find YOU.”  If that is truly the case then don’t travel with me to another country.  I would just as soon have spent that same amount of money traveling with people who actually wanted to enjoy my company.

Anyhow, that’s my observation (or probably more like a rant) about the generation of people I’m growing up with.  At the very least, it’s got my fingers moving again.  Hopefully life doesn’t interrupt again for a while and keep me away for too long!

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