Phantom Limb

Last night I attended the recording of a public radio comedy show at the historic Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.  While en route to the other side of the river ahead of the show, I realized I left my iPhone at home.

Immediately I started wondering how someone would reach me to inform me of all the horrible things that were going to happen just because I didn’t have the communication device resting in my hip pocket.  THE WORLD IS GOING TO END AND I’M GOING TO MISS IT!

Okay, I didn’t take it that far, but I did borrow a phone and send a note to my mom with an alternative way to contact me – just in case.

It wasn’t THAT long ago that we lived (and survived) without mobile phones.  I remember getting my first one when I was nineteen, my parents gave it to me as a Christmas gift.  Back then, it had a single digital strip that only displayed letters and numbers.  Back then, that’s all we “needed.”  Back then was only fourteen years ago.

Now, we are so engrossed in them, we miss everything around us.  Everyone says that, complains about it, but continue to be face down in our screens – myself included.

Forgetting to grab my phone last night, reminded me of the importance of looking around – beyond the electronic glow.  Several times I caught myself reaching into my pocket for something that wasn’t there.  What was I going to do while I sat in my seat at intermission while my girlfriend was out in the corridor?  Talk to other people?  The horror!

I looked around the theater and observed.  A lot of people were typing feverishly on their phones, others were engaged in actual conversations.  I noticed how beautiful the theater we were sitting in was.  I noticed the sound engineer adjusting levels on the sound board.  I noticed… everything.

We complain about not having enough time to do the things we want to do.  But how much time do we burn up looking at screens?  I’ve significantly cut back on watching TV this year… reducing it to a couple shows I catch on Netflix.  I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I spend my time – and how much more I SLEEP.  That’s something I would like to continue into 2014.

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