Friday, November 27, 2009

The Outsider

As millions of us gathered for family reunions at Thanksgiving, a common sight repeated itself in many households. In the middle of conversation, there would be a sudden disruption. In our quest for ever expanding technological advances, we have introduced a new guest to our party. In recent times, with endless text messages, email notices, access to files, and the ready availability of a world of information, an outsider has intruded. As cell phone applications grow, our attention to the moment shrinks.

I would suggest a rule, at least for this one day, that all phones are to be checked at the front door. There should be a suspension of search and seizure laws, as all guests get patted down before entry. Anyone seen violating this mandate during the Thanksgiving feast should be sent home without a second helping of stuffing. A non-sport fan will be required to sit through a full afternoon watching football, next to the uncle who has never witnessed a touchdown or interception he couldn't dissect.

I was speaking with one of my favorite, unnamed, relatives at yesterday's feast. Suddenly her eyes darted down and her fingers moved in furious motion. When she looked back up, I gently chastised her. I took a look at the phone she was holding. Her message read "What? Why?". Somehow, I had the feeling that this disruption was not of monumental significance.

I am not criticizing anyone who has moved into the 21st Century. I am stuck early in the last decade and am rapidly losing contact with most of the rest of the world. But, my lack of comprehension should not be confused with a lack of ability to understand the implications of what is transpiring.

It no longer warrants an "excuse me," or any other indication when you break away from the moment. As thoughts hang in mid-air, there is suddenly a superseding event. There seems to be no safe haven. I have been on walks with friends, in the car, at a dinner in a restaurant or even waiting for a movie to begin, when this interruption plays itself out in full view. Can't one even pretend that this action is caused by some emergency?

I understand that many, if not most, will think that this is just a needless rant and that I am the one who must amend my thought process to be accepting of a new reality. I assume that someday I will become a convert and will wonder how I could have been so wrong in my thinking. Until that day comes, I would ask that, at least in our conversations, you only have eyes for me.


Anonymous said...

Re: "What? Why?"

Who? Me? Sorry, Uncle Rob! But what makes you so sure my text was not of monumental significance? :)

Robert said...

Everything you do is of monumental significance to me (you almost gave away your anonymity by referring to me as Uncle Rob).

Anonymous said...

That was intentional. I don't quite feel ashamed enough of what I did to require a shield of anonymity. But maybe the lack of shame is the crux of your point here?? Plus, I figured your readers were more likely to blame it on Lindsay or Brett. (Doh!)

Robert said...

you are most clever

Unknown said...

WHOA!! I'm most worried that people would blame it on me (Brett), after reading that the culprit was a SHE. But, wait....hold on.................................................ok, sorry, had to respond to that blackberry messenger....what was I saying? :)

Robert said...

Distraction central