Last week, my sister Joon and I went over to my parents' house for dinner. After we'd eaten, we all sat in the living room and played on our phones or iPods.
I cannot express how ashamed I am to write that.
There was a time when we talked beyond texts and/or Facebook comments, but technology has restricted us and bound us and now we are BORING. I hate that we are like that, and I hate that I participate in it.
I think, tonight, that I am over that. I will no longer allow myself to be rude and disengaged. I vow that I will not text my family members when we are in the same room. I will put my electronics away and pretend that I live in the distant past--2004--when we didn't have all this stuff that SAYS it will help us to communicate when in fact it PREVENTS direct communication.
I'm not saying that electronic communication is bad; I'm just saying that it can be set aside for awhile. I can put my phone in my purse for the 2-3 hours that I'm with other people. I don't HAVE to check Facebook every six seconds. Someone can live WITHOUT my texting him/her for a couple of hours.
I have a friend who never looks at my face anymore because she's too busy either reading a text or responding to it. I have an almost irrational amount of anger about this. Every time I hear the little ding of an incoming text, I feel like I'm minutes away from an apocalyptic explosion*.
In the interest of not being a massive hypocrite, I've had to take a look at my own habits, and I'm not exactly blameless in this regard. I mean to change that.
I HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS' FULL ATTENTION.
MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT MY FULL ATTENTION.
In my classroom, I post a set of real rules and a set of common sense rules. The first is very generic (as I've said before), and the second is more specific, addressing things that I actually have a problem with.
One of my common sense rules is It can wait 90 minutes.
Yes, you can, I tell my students on the first day. You can wait 90 minutes to tell me about your weekend, you can wait 90 minutes to eat your chips, you can wait 90 minutes to talk to your friend, and YOU CAN WAIT 90 MINUTES TO LOOK AT YOUR EFFING PHONE**.
So I am going to adopt that rule for myself, because there's certainly no surplus of common sense around here.
Yes, I can. I can wait 90 minutes to look at my effing phone. I can unplug myself for the short amount of time that I spend with other people. No one will die, nothing will explode, and I might just have an awesome time.
*I cannot believe how quickly I am turning into an old lady.
** My classroom delivery may be a little less volatile.