Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#tech me back

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Dear Life,

Remember way back when? When cell phones were 50 pounds, and huge, and you could always tell who was using them because they looked like that guy that was in 'Lady in the Water' who was buff only on one side of his body? I remember long summer days down in Huntington Beach. The beach cruiser was like the cool, new bike design and mine was a few inches too tall. I could ride, but I couldn't get started unless my bike was straddled over a speed bump so that I could climb on. I also couldn't stop, which was kind of important (meh, mildly). It wasn't uncommon for me to use the bumper of a Trans Am, or a Camaro, or a Porsche, to come to a complete stop. It was also pretty common for me to look around to make sure no one saw me...then I could move on to the next new car to cushion my lack of braking skills. Now, don't flip out. I never damaged anything. It was a huge blue cruiser bike tire. And every car back then had an ACTUAL bumper, none of this dumb bumper made of plastic junk. The only time that it was an issue was when Cole Davis saw me from his front window, but didn't say anything until he was with his gaggle of surfer friends. *sigh...it wouldn't have mattered if I hadn't have had a galaxy-sized crush on him. But I digress (as per usual).

Technology wasn't really a part of every day life back then. I mean, we had the Apple2e, and we had the Atari game console, and every Halloween, we could get our 3D glasses (and a slurpee) from 7-Eleven to watch Elvira's special. But there was no texting...only actual note writing (that would still get you in trouble if a teacher found you out)...some with little boxes that said 'check yes or no'. It was charming.

Now, the use of tech is EV-RY-WARE. I can't go into a bathroom in a movie theater without some middle school girl primping and taking duck-lip selfies. Read it again. Bathroom. Duck lips. Selfies. I support/tolerate/admit to the taking of selfies in one's own bathroom, but in public-ish facilities...it's like the pic has germs all over it. And seriously, are there not enough movie related, huge displays that you can stick your head through and laugh over? The potty was the ONLY place you could take your selfie gig? Ugh. So over it. I'm eye rolling hard. You should, too. Niiiice.

The phone epidemic isn't in emergency status ONLY in the bathrooms of public theaters...it's rampant and my following examples will succinctly (well, kinda) demonstrate how:

#are you sure you want to do this?
A dear friend of mine (and inside reporter/contributor) attended her cousin's wedding last week. It was during a weekday, and really only the immediate family was in attendance (which, in all Mexican and Hawaiian families means that it's at least 100 people minimum). It was in a beautiful cathedral, with lovely flowers, and music, and romance...and her uncle sitting in his lavender tuxedo next to her using his phone. At first, she didn't think anything about it. The wedding hadn't yet begun. Maybe he was checking his snap chat or something. Everything was in line. The harpist was doing her thing. Weaving musical magic through the room. Guests were anticipating the start of the ceremony. But she was distracted by him suddenly. He would text a something and then giggle...you know? That giggle...when someone is doing something they probably shouldn't be. It's a sinister low laugh, really. Then, he proceeded to show her his text feed...which was being sent to the groom..."are you sure you want to do this?" giggle giggle "it's not too late" ha ha "we can hop in my getaway car and head to Vegas." And it's not that the match was troubled or bad, he was trying to be funny. In a ghetto-fabulous manner. The best man had the phone...and each time, he'd look at it and then look around, confused. I think I would be, too...you know, because the best man was the bride's brother.

#bizarre way to grieve
Years ago, my man had a close friend who passed. It came as quite a shock for everyone. The friend was young, full of vitality...this was a tragic and unexpected loss. The services were held in a really beautiful church, with his extensive family, and everything about it was lovely, hopeful, comforting and peaceful...rather, it WAS, until my man's buddy who was sitting next to us (granted, whom he hadn't seen in months) wanted to take this 'perfect' (not in the LEAST) opportunity to show him pics of his new, "very hot" girlfriend. I think it wouldn't have been a big deal had the guy received a message or something and shared his, then opened, screen pic. You know? If it had been there and it was a brief share because it was momentarily present. But it was nothing like that. It was him nudging my man, and scrolling through his (seriously) 400 photos of his shiny, new and improved girlfriend, one.grueling.image.at.a.time. With added narrative. Her in a blue dress. Her with her hair in a pony tail with curled ends (she's so hot). Her after she had worked out (I think she likes, like, some resistance training thing). Her in the pool (at my house, dude). Her sleeping (she kinda snores, kinda, it's not loud...she's just so hot. Even her snoring is hot, dude!). Her drinking coffee (it's super trendy, but I don't care, she's hot). Her eating (so glad she's not a veg, dude. she likes meat and everything. it's really hot). Oye. It was such a strange juxtaposition...it was like he hadn't grasped the PLAINLY OBVIOUS fact that we were sitting IN A CHURCH...for a FUNERAL..."dude, look at this one. she's so hot..."

#tick ti tick tick (whispering (more like airy shouting)) let me call you back
My family was hosting an out-of-town friend of theirs in their home for a special presentation. We had invited other family and friends to attend. Included was a long-time family friend who had come half-way through the demonstration, and sat in the back of the room on the couch. The room isn't that big, and there were MAYBE 10 people there in total, but still...I guess she forgot that someone was STANDING right in front of her talking and explaining. I assume this because 1) she forgot to turn off her phone, which meant that, 2) she was intermittently texting, and you could hear the touch point tones...that sound like ticks...tick ti tick tick tick ti tick tick tick...and THEN, 3) she actually got a call!!! and picked it up!!!!, but "whispered" (and by whispered, I mean the neighbors could have heard it through steel doors) "let me call you back..."and THEN, she fell asleep a little and snored...and THEN, 4) started texting again...tick ti tick tick tick...Are you kidding me??

Maybe I'm crazy (don't answer). Am I completely naive to think that ALL people would have a keen sense of appropriety when it comes to sensitive events? Like weddings...or FUNERALS??? I'm baffled. And, yes, kinda facetiously judgey. PLEASE, leave your flippin' phones in this box, out here, AWAY from everyone else...And to make the point: no, Uncle Manny, you're not even remotely funny. Please, go to Vegas on your own. And leave your fabulous sense of humor (and your fashion sense) there. Dude, your virtual wallet of photos is both wildly compelling and completely pathetic. And, through my tears (can you see them? i'm surprised you missed the hiccuping sobs of the lady in front of us), your girlfriend looks drippy, but whatever.

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE, pretty please. These are etiquette basics. There's no extensive protocol about this approach. It's a basic display of manners. Remember those? Manners? If YOU were getting married would you want some related, family nerd sending you (not) witty texts about having second thoughts?? Etc...common sense. I'm NOT hating on phones, just phones in places where they shouldn't be the center of attention, or even considered as a participant. Am I completely old fashioned for thinking there's a time and a place for all things? Am I totally off for being of the opinion that these situations were made difficult, awkward, and quirky-strange because of the random introduction of phone usage into the context of these stories?

Can I just go back? Please? To a being a girl riding a way oversized bike? Where phones weren't really a thought or a forefront distraction...and were used primarily after school, after chores, and after Bio homework was done, while laying on the floor of my room, by my dog, with my legs supported up against my bed, bare feet shooting straight up to the ceiling, talking on my Mickey Mouse phone with the cord all wrapped around my ankles and knees, while I'm talking to Jenny about her birthday party next week, and giggling uncontrollably while we shyly ask each other if Ryan (so cute) likes her? Duran Duran playing in the background, electric globe on the shelf, the spine broken on some Judy Bloom book, looking forward to the next episode of 'Knight Rider'? Uncle Manny FOR SURE couldn't have brought his Mickey Mouse phone with him to ANY social event. Although, he'd still probably be in the lavender tux. Just sayin'.


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