Back in September of 2019, my mother and I were returning home from a trip to Indigo. In my hands was my brand-new copy of Ulysses by James Joyce.
That, one would think, would have been the highlight of my day – but upon looking up from Ulysses, I noticed an individual pushing a baby stroller across a crosswalk on a very busy intersection. Pushing is too strong a word; rather, the individual was kicking it forward with one foot while texting with both hands, eyes not fixed on the moving cars but on the phone.
I remember feeling baffled – flustered even. What if the kick given to the stroller was too hard, and the stroller flung into oncoming traffic? What if the individual, too busy playing with the phone, smashed the stroller into a signpost or a light post?
We live in an odd era. We are constantly paying attention to one aspect of reality – at least whatever reality is presented to us from our phones – at the loss of the rest. We hear constantly that the internet and cell phones are a means of connection, yet we disconnect ourselves from the reality of possibly being run over by an 18-wheeler.
I must admit I never really understood the need for cell phones or their overwhelming appeal. I myself do have one. I purchased it when I was eighteen, and now I am nearing my mid-twenties. I sometimes text people and often forget to answer them. I rarely use social media, and have never played a game on my phone. I don’t even have data.
In fact, I find cell phones a little creepy. I find the people who I see using them – their heads down, their eyes and fingers fixed on the screen – a little creepy as well. Imagine being given a fatal diagnosis, and upon rethinking all the events in your life, you realize an inordinate amount of time was given to a device no larger than a book!
Cell phones demand your full attention. I never gave them mine, and neither should you.