Disconnect to connect

Last night I left my phone at my brother’s place in Westbank. I live in Kelowna and by the time I realized my blunder, it was too late to go back.

My first issue was trying to remember my brother’s cell number, since everything is programmed into my phone. Then I realized the best thing to do was to phone my own phone and hope that he’d answer it. Thankfully, two weeks earlier I’d signed onto a cheap Shaw deal which required me to get a land line. I would have been hooped without it, for sure.

He answered on the first ring. “I was wondering when you’d realize you’d left it behind,” he said. We laughed, then made arrangements for me to pick it up on my way to Vancouver the following morning.

After hanging up I pondered the reality of our so-called smart phones.

Smart phones make us DUMB. I used to know everyone’s telephone number, their birthdays, and their email addresses. Now I think I’ve got two of my three children’s numbers memorized, my Dad’s land line (not his cell), and my work number. What’s happened?

During my teenage years (the ’70s), if someone called and you weren’t home, they just tried again later. 

The ’80s ushered in the answering machine. It was pretty exciting to see that blinking light when you got back to your apartment after work.  

The ’90s was the onset of cell phones. The initial ones were reserved for the wealthy or self-important wannabes. They were big brick-sized monstrosities that had very limited reception, and doubled as doorstops.

As cell phones became smaller, their skill set became that much larger. You could build in contact directories so the need to remember numbers was no longer necessary. Voice mail got rid of the need of cumbersome answering machines. 

Then new-fangled texting started. I remember wondering, if it takes that long to type out a message why not just call? Oh, it was a matter of etiquette, I was told. Texting allowed people to check to see if a person was available before they actually called. 

Huh? Couldn’t they just leave a voice mail?

Then phones stopped being phones. Society’s need to be in 24-7 connectivity has mushroomed into a nuclear wasteland of communication. 

Ironically, the tool created to allow connection now serves as a distraction from actual face to face interaction. People can’t stand in line for a few moments, or enjoy the day or the people around them. Their eyes are glued to their phones for FB posts or Tweets. Dating, break-ups, and make-ups are all done by texting now. No need for those awkward, vulnerable phone calls or, god forbid, conversations. 

When I told my teenage nieces that phones were not allowed at my dinner table, there were dumbfounded gasps. They don’t come over that much anymore.

“How could you possibly have left your phone behind?” a friend asked. Well, thankfully it’s not yet grafted to my hand. It’s still just a tool for communicating. I have a ‘three text rule’. More than that, call me.

True connection requires eye contact, body language, engaging laughter, and real face to face time. Use your phone to arrange a time for a real world encounter.

Imagine it. Disconnect to truly connect.

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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