Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Where R U?

A few day ago when we were having lunch at the Emporium, I noticed a 30 something woman in the next booth busily text messaging. Not too much later a friend, with a phone in hand, joined her and after 4 or 5 minutes of “How nice you look,” and “We should do this more often,” both women went back to texting. For the rest of their lunch time the conversation was totally focused on who they were texting and what they should tell their common acquaintances about how much fun it was to have lunch together.

The lunch observation got me thinking about the variety of places I’ve seen people, not just kids, totally engrossed in sending and receiving text messages. Besides the car, the list would include movies, plays, restrooms, church, hiking, shopping, biking, a variety of restaurants and I’m sure a few others that I’ve forgotten.

Just to see what’s so exciting about texting, I decided to give it a test run. The first trick was to get the other half to even turn on the cell phone and here’s how it went from there….

“Having coffee at the Emporium.”

Response, “So...”

“I just thought you should know.”

Response, “Why?”

“Because I look really cool sitting here with my phone.”

Response, “Get the milk and come home.”

I still don’t get it. What drives the need for constant contact with someone else in some other place? A friend suggests that we’re losing our ability to appreciate the “here and now” – our current surroundings, the people we’re with or the meal, or movie or the event that’s right in front of us. While I think that’s a fairly dire assessment, it does seem to be where our electronic gadgets, Wi-Fi, Twitter and Facbook are taking us.

I’m not sure that’s where I want to go. It may be out-of-date thinking but I’m going make sure I enjoy things as they come and not as they might be. It’s fine to look ahead with anticipation but perhaps we do need to spend a little more time engaging the “here and now”.

The next time we have coffee at the Emporium or see each other at the Farmer’s Market, I promise to put away all my gadgets and focus on our time together – that’s assuming you’re not busy texting.

A. Reader

Editor's note: I was in the Super Walmart in Bellbrook yesterday, killing time while Amy was getting her hair permed by a friend. I spotted a computer monitor on sale for a very good price. When my son was visiting from Seattle this Christmas, he mentioned that his monitor was on the verge of quitting on him. I suddenly felt the urge to let him know about the sale. It was too early on the west coast for me to call him, and it would be awhile before I got to my computer to email him. So, I shot him a text message. I have had cellphones with this capability for years, but I cannot ever remember initiating a text. Only once before, did I ever even open a text message that I had received. Am I doomed?


Susan Gartner said...

Thank you, A. Reader, for that very insightful column. (Wish I'd written it.) I'm with you 100 percent.

jafabrit said...

while I love having the ability to text, and do on occasion, I am with you. Why have lunch with someone and then spend the whole time texting? I don't get that.

Anonymous said...

I must say that all good things in Yellow Springs seem to generate from the Emporium , thank god we have it

cassie said...

i also agree, what's the point of inviting someone to come along? it's true the here and now is a thing of the past it seems... co-dependency is on the rise.

Anonymous said...

I have wondered how we have such a great wine bar on Friday nights without the Emporium having a liqour License.

Virgil Hervey said...

Dayton Daily News: As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, the American Red Cross had received more than $24 million in relief contributions texted from cell phones.


Kurt said...

The Emporium holds a license for Wine Tasting. That is why we use the format that we do (small tasting glasses, 7-8 varieties of wine, information on the wines, & new wines every week). We do not, however, have a license to sell wine by the bottle to be consumed on premises. That's why you can't buy a bottle of beer/wine and drink it, say, with your lunch.

Sincerely, Kurt

Anonymous said...

My comment isn't exactly about texting but cell phones in general. I live close to the Glen with a nice view of the bike path and one day I noticed a group of four people walking along on the path. Three of them were talking on their cell phones as they walked along and I couldn't help but wonder why not talk to the people that you are with?

Virgil Hervey said...

I remember being blown away the first time I saw a woman talking on a cell phone while riding a bicycle. That was years ago. Then there was the guy talking on his cell while fishing at Ellis Pond He was talking so loud he scared all the fish away.

Anonymous said...


Virgil Hervey said...

Too long - Dinner..?

Anonymous said...

TLDNR - too long did not read