I’m a little (actually, very) ashamed to admit I’m looking forward to buying the new iPhone. I can’t stick with this old 2010 cracked-screen phone any longer.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know that the newest Apple masterpiece won’t be any different from the slew of technology that has already taken over our lives. I know it will just be the newest trinket the populace uses to tweet this and that, to attack me with an onslaught of narcissistic #selfies, to barrage my newsfeed with Neanderthal-esque duckfaces.
But, eventually we must all conform right? As I write this, I’m comforted by the fact that, although I’m sitting alone at a café, I have a laptop screen I can stare at. Because how else can I sit alone? Even before I pulled out the laptop, I was glued to my phone, texting five people I don’t like, liking Facebook statuses that dripped in melodrama and flinging fat birds that farted eggs at evil pigs. This is what I’ve become. This is what we’ve all become. When was the last time you were alone in public without pulling out your phone?
Honestly though, I don’t want to sound cynical. I really am impressed by how technology has revolutionized communication. But I think it’s destroyed communication a lot more than it has helped it. We’ve changed as a people. Conversation is dead, and by being so plugged in, we’ve lost the ability to simply talk. Sure, I might be exaggerating just a tad. But how about that time you talked to that crush of yours on Facebook, sounding charming as all hell, only to realize what an awkward turtle you’d become once you saw her face to face?
In addition to its deconstruction of communication, technology has also managed to butcher language; I’ve seen the progression. Back in 2006, when MSN messenger was the rage, you couldn’t say more than “how r u?” at the beginning of a conversation if you wanted to sound aloof and confident. Nowadays, even that might seem too much.
When I texted a girl the other day, I caught myself adding two extra y’s to the ‘hey’: “Heyyy.” I regretted it instantly. That was one ‘y’ too many, and I didn’t want to sound desperate. Really? Forget actual dates or physical rendezvous, we can’t even write a coherent sentence anymore.
This generation, my generation, has become completely detached from the present moment. I spent all of yesterday texting a friend with the intention of meeting up that night. The second we sat down together, we spent a few minutes making a small talk and then the inevitable happened: we pulled out our phones. Noticing this, I asked him who he was texting; we were both making plans with other people for the next day.
Our social lives have now become utterly reliant on subtle hints and cues, on the arrangement of colons and brackets, on the number of “y’s” at the end of our “heys.” Even simple etiquette is now dead, with politeness being confused for flirtation.
Who knows, maybe I’m just being too idealistic. But isn’t it sad that expecting people not to check their phones when they’re out together is no longer a realistic expectation?
I’m not really sure how to conclude. But next time you go out, how about you put your phone away? Or maybe when you get that girl’s number, you can actually try calling her and having a conversation, instead of that short (and somewhat asinine) text.
But then again, I haven’t had a steady relationship in two years, so how seriously do you want to take my advice?