There was a date last year where the gentleman in question asked me if I’d like to come up to his place. Assuming he meant “do you want to have sex, stay the night, get a parking ticket and leave at an absurd hour of the morning,” I responded:
Yes. If you’ll put the phone away.
Then there was the ex-boyfriend who lived and died latched-on the the same Apple-branded teat. The vibrations never seemed to end. The texting with The Dudes was frequent. Conversations with the ex-wife were seemingly incessant. So I finally said something:
It’s me or the phone. Your choice.
Folks, it’s a piece of technology and I don’t care if you’re a Crackberry/iPhone/Droid/Palm devotee. It makes no difference. It disgusts me that you can’t put the phone down long enough to have a conversation with a real, live person standing in front of you (especially if you’re hoping the conversation culminates in a “happy ending with release”).
So yeah – you’re getting Bitch Slapped. Every time you look at that phone that plugs you into The Matrix, you’re unplugging from ME. You’re telling the person (or people) sitting in front of you that you place more value in virtual relationships than real ones. And let me tell you – while there might be some oddballs out there reading my blog who live in their parents’ basement and have an uber-pimped-out whatever on World of Warcraft, every damn one of you is seriously lacking an excuse.
If you’ve arranged your life so that you simply cannot function without checking your email every five minutes, my friend – you’re a walking example of a serious fail. You should turn in your opposable thumbs and go back to dragging your knuckles because your ability to operate as a being with logical capacity is utterly absent.
Social engagement these days revolves around our handheld devices. We check in, we text, we tweet, we share. But can’t you do that and put the goddamned phone AWAY?
Let me get this straight:
You go somewhere to meet friends.
You arrive. You “check in.”
Aaaaaaand there are your friends.
***where’s the part about your phone being a requirement for a meaningful experience?
Ladies and gents, it’s this simple: if you’re on a date, you turn the fucking phone off. If there is a life or death matter, your date will be understanding – but every date should NOT have a life-or-death matter lurking at the perimeter (and if it does, it’s likely a smart decision to lose the date and go find a new one).
If you’re in a meeting, you turn the fucking phone off. Your attention deserves to be present in that room with people who have arranged their time to hear what you have to say.
And if you’re in the car, quit fucking text messaging! It blows my mind that there are no-texting laws yet very few hands-free laws. You need to type “LOL” does not preempt my desire and right to drive the streets among other drivers with two eyes on the goddamned road.
Now, as the sting on your cheek subsides, I want you to think back to the day that you saw your first fax machine. The day you used your first computer. The day that Michael Douglas looked like a serious P-I-M-P in Wall Street when he spoke on that big-as-a-brick “mobile phone.”
We didn’t always have these fantastical devices. And somehow, life went on without them. Believe me – you are capable of giving other human beings the pleasure of your company for a finite period of time without having to “check in” with technology.
That’s it. Consider yourself slapped. And if you’ve got a technology-related horror story, I’d love to hear it.