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Monday, August 16, 2010

Cell phones

A short post on this topic isn’t nearly enough. One would have to devote an entire blog (with multiple posts a day) to the subject of cell phones to even come close to scratching the surface. Two observations set this post into motion.

First: Keane Concert
A female in front of me at the House of Blues for a Keane concert a few weeks ago recorded the majority of the show on her iPhone. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think technology is awesome; the ability to record life on such a tiny device, and have the picture quality so stunning is pretty amazing. But she didn’t see the show! She watched something that was literally 30 feet in front of her live, through the screen of a smart phone. How ‘smart’ could that really be? You’ve got this great band, in a great venue, playing great music with great acoustics, and you experience the entire thing staring at your hand-held device. I suppose the thought is that the ability to watch and re-watch the show on her phone, computer or wherever is greater than the experience of being there live, and in the moment.

Second: Grocery Store
Last night I was waiting to check out of the self-service check-out area when I saw what could be described as a phenomenon. This dude was on his cell phone, chatting away with someone, taking an incredible amount of time to scan his items. It was laughable watching this guy fumble his frozen pizza, wave a cooked chicken over the scanner a solid eight or nine times, attempt to bag groceries with one hand, all while having a great conversation on the phone. It would have been purely funny had there not been a long line waiting to check-out, but given the guy’s oblivion to other people waiting, it was more frustrating than anything.

We spend so much time on our phones – waiting for a movie to start, waiting for the elevator, while in class and at the gym. I see scores of people walk out of my office at 5:30p, having been on a computer all day long, with their heads completely down, looking at nothing but their phone. I’m in the same boat. It’s like an addiction, our phones, to be constantly checking them… it’s almost refreshing when our phones die. Although I’m sure it’s rare for most, a dead phone is a relief on occasion – no texting, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, ESPN.com… no nothing. Just you and your thoughts. Kind of nice for a change.

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