We had a family Christmas party on the weekend at Michael's aunt's house. His aunt and uncle are an older couple; delightful to be around and so youthful in spirit. They live in our town and it is not unlike us to go over and share some wine and a hot tub with them.
During family game time this weekend, their home phone line rang. Two of their grandchildren were standing beside the rotary phone and almost jumped out of their skin. "IT'S RINGING!!!" they shouted in confusion. "What should we do???" The rest of us just chuckled. We told them to pick up the phone and answer it.
Nobody talks on the phone anymore. If my phone does ring, I immediately think to myself: what happened? And if it's not an emergency, I wonder why they didn't text me first to tell me they were calling. Bizarre. It's all so bizarre. I suppose in this lightning speed paced world, a phone call demands you drop everything to speak to the caller whereas texting and emailing can be done on your own clock.
The New York Times ran an article discussing this very topic. "I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, don't call anyone after 10 p.m. Now the rule is, don't call anyone. Ever. Phone calls are rude, intrusive, awkward. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people."
Personally, I think technology is turning us into a bunch of weirdos. Gadgets have replaced conversation. People don't know how to interact face to face. Eye contact feels uncomfortable. My mom calls the young generation of gadgets "Social Misfits." I laugh when I hear her coin this term, but it's true. And don't even get me started on thank you cards, hand written notes or buying music.
I understand we have two choices with technology: fight it or embrace it. But there are still times that I cling to my old fashioned life, values and manners. There was a time that you would never eat dinner while on the phone. Are you kidding me? Growing up, if anyone called at dinner time, my stepdad would answer the phone which was on our kitchen wall above our table and sternly let the caller know we were eating dinner and I would call them back. Sadly now, I look at the younger generation and even important business men and their heads are buried in their laps, eyes turned southward and the rest of us sit at the dinner table looking at each other and thinking the same thing: How rude.
Where is our world headed? I haven't got a clue but if current times are a glimpse into the unforeseen future, I have to admit, I'm slightly scared.