Necessary Evil – Or Blessing in Disguise?
I love all things technology, so it’s ironic that took me so long to embrace texting. Not long after my son and sister pulled me into it kicking and screaming, I went on a conference/vacation trip to Florida.
One night after dinner while my son was on the phone to his friends, I answered a text from my sister. As soon as I pressed send, I overheard my son say, “My mother is texting like a thirteen-year-old girl.” He paused and said, “No, seriously.” Then he laughed.
I wasn’t sure whether to feel insulted or complimented.
The next morning at the conference, the ladies sitting behind me were chatting faster than I could text. I know because my friend, Lynda, and I were texting back and forth.
Like thirteen-year-old girls?
Our subject matter:
- The ladies behind us were annoying and they kept us from hearing the speaker.
- The 100 degree heat and 99% humidity was miserable. Why was it so humid here anyway?
- The hammocks between the palm trees on the lake outside would be a great place to spend the afternoon. Too bad there was a slate of boring lectures scheduled.
- Oh, but we could get our lunch and lay in the hammocks until the afternoon lectures began. What were we going to eat for lunch, anyway?
- And where were we going to eat dinner tonight? An Irish pub, Planet Hollywood, or Rainforest Café?
When I left the conference room for a quick break, I had quite the revelation when I returned. There were almost a thousand people in the giant ballroom and I didn’t see my seat immediately. But I did see something else. The speaker, a male oncologist in a room full of mostly women, was speaking away and looking out at the audience. But a good 90% of the audience wasn’t looking at him.
They were tapping away at their cell phones.
Could it be they were taking notes? Maybe a few were, but I’m certain that more were texting, playing games, or reading the news or their Facebook feeds since it’s far easier to take notes on paper than on a cell phone.
Oh. My. My. My!
A wash of shame spread through me as I tiptoed toward my now-located seat, wondering how it must feel to have nearly a thousand people texting and playing games on their phone instead of listening to a lecture that took a lot of work to prepare.
For the rest of the lecture I looked at the speaker, even though I couldn’t hear him because of the women behind us. And for the rest of the conference, I tried really hard not to touch my cell phone. It wasn’t easy.
But I’m not the only one. I see people in restaurants looking bored, while the person they’re with is texting or chatting away. I know people who constantly text instead of joining a conversation while with a group of friends or co-workers. Everywhere you look, people have a phone attached to them in some manner, either stuck to their ear or in one hand, while the other one is hitting the keys – or tapping the screen.
Is this good, or bad?
How about a little bit of both?
Advancing technology is always a good thing, for too many reasons to discuss here. I’ve come to love every single piece of technology my cell phone offers me. My sister and I have grown closer through texting. My mother’s even learned to text so she can keep in instant touch as well.
On the negative side, people have grown so addicted to instant access on their phones they want it everywhere else as well; dinner with family or friends, movies, meetings, church.
At the memorial service for my pastor, the man sitting next to me was texting. So was a man on the end of the aisle two rows up and across from me. What, I ask you, could be so important you have to check your text messages during your pastor’s memorial service? Seriously? If something is that important, it would be far more respectful to excuse yourself.
Those two things – the women texting at the conference and the men texting at my pastor’s memorial service – showed me cell phones can be an addiction for many people. I choose not to be addicted to anything. So – I’m trying really hard not to text unless I’m alone.
But if I’m being ignored because the person I’m with is texting or talking on the phone, you’ll probably find me checking my texts, my email, and my, um…
…Let’s just say I now need to tackle my Pinterest
Suzie Johnson’s husband calls her Mrs. Gadget. Her debut novel, No Substitute, a contemporary inspirational novel, is out now from White Rose Press of The Pelican Book Group. Her second novel, True North, will be out later this year. She is a regular contributor to the Inkwell Inspirations blog, a member of ACFW, RWA, and is the cancer registrar at her local hospital. Suzie and her husband are the parents of a wonderful grown son who makes them proud every day – even though he lives way too far away. Suzie and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest with their naughty little cat on an island that is definitely not tropical. You can visit her at the following places: