Technology has facilitated connections across great distances, such that our communication is nearly instantaneous—despite our location. But what has it done for connections in front of our faces?
From what I’ve seen, it’s become a barrier or at least an obstacle to real life interactions in real time. In our constant state of connectedness—online, through devices—we are utterly disconnected from the world around us. While our eyes are focused on our phones, iPads, etc., we are surrounded by others, mostly doing the same. We often don’t even see the people who are physically around us.
Here’s some evidence, or what I call phone face pictures:
Our connection is our barrier.
Some people brag about the strangest things. Take, for example, my experience in the line to go through the security at Austin airport yesterday afternoon.
A woman behind me (a bit too close behind me for my taste), gets on her phone. Here’s what I hear on her side of the “conversation”.
"Oh my God, I’m SO drunk right now. Like, they might not let me on the plane.”
"I have to smile through security. I am so drunk, oh my God. There is a high chance they won’t let me on the plane."
"I’ve got my big sunglasses on, so they can’t… Oh my God, I’m so wasted."
"Are you going to come out with us tonight? You are, right? You’re not going to bail on me, are you? Are you that kind of guy?"
This goes on for some time. And then she wraps it up. Proceeds to make another call…
"Oh my God, I’m SO drunk. They might not let me on the plane. I don’t even know what I packed. I just threw shit in my bag this morning.”
"Are you coming out with us tonight?"
"I was drinking at the lake like all day. I am so drunk. He told me I just have to smile through security. Or I won’t get on the plane."
And then, yes, she called yet ANOTHER person to proceed with…you guessed it, more of the same.
Seriously bragging about being drunk? I often joke that I need a purpose, but I’m willing to start a fund to find people like this one. And get them to sober up.
I’m much more melancholy than most may think. Sometimes more than even I think. I try to focus on the positive and strive to BE a positive presence in the lives of those around me.
But I’m surprisingly wired to be very emotionally impacted by people, events. My extreme empathy has nearly broken me on occasion. (All the ugly crying…which at least makes me laugh, thanks to Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give…)
I was talking to my mom during one of my less happy times, and she told me two words that made me really stop. Think. And check myself.
I realized that yes, sometimes things just suck. But focusing on that was often choosing to overlook some positive and was choosing to keep happiness away.
So when I start to feel down, I stop myself for a moment to think: am I choosing happiness?
The story behind stet…
Stet is an editor’s mark, taken from Latin that means “let it stand.” It is used to indicate that one should disregard a change that was marked and to leave the original as it was.
When I first thought of it as a tattoo, it was a joke, playing on the irony of essentially marking yourself with a “never mind, no change needed.” The more I thought about it, I realized it was actually deep. Leave me as I am. And given the layers of it all…ironic, funny, deep…I decided it was me.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stet for more on stet.