Is there such a thing as down time anymore? You know, just some quiet time where we are unplugged, disconnected, disengaged?
I strode into our favorite pizza joint on Saturday night to pick up a carry-out order. It's typically very busy on weekend nights and this was no exception. As usual, there was a line of people waiting to be seated. On the five chairs available sat five lucky folks who didn't have to stand. They were waiting for both carry-outs and to be seated.
I had to chuckle. Each of the five had their mobile devices out, and each were scrolling up and down the devices with their thumbs, using the touch screen feature.
Being nosy, I peeked and a few of them seemed to be scanning their Facebook accounts. But the sight of all five of these folks---and I don't know if any of them knew each other or not, because they weren't talking---thumbing up and down their mobile devices, their faces lit by the device's glow, was comical to me.
But it was also a sad commentary, at the same time.
Had these five folks been stripped of their devices, or left them at home, or---gasp!---decided not to pull them out to begin with, there might have been idle conversation. Or, better yet, some aforementioned down time.
You remember down time, don't you?
Is it too foreign for us anymore in this mobile communications age to consider some time just sitting, staring, and doing nothing?
I love to people watch. That's just me. I enjoy observing---people talking, the wait staff working, the bartender mixing drinks, etc. The pizza joint also had a television, beaming the NCAA basketball tournament and other sporting events into the restaurant. Yet none of the five---and they were all men, by the way---showed the tiniest bit of interest in the TVs.
They all had their faces aglow from their mobile devices.
I check my Facebook and/or e-mail on my phone, too---usually when I am walking the dog. But not always. Other times, I enjoy the outdoors, the fresh air, and the always popular people watching and observations. You can see a lot, making some 1,100 dog walks a year (you heard me; walk him about three times a day, on the average).
The men in the pizzeria probably had no more than 5-10 minutes to kill, waiting for their pizzas or dining room seats. Instead of relaxing and enjoying some alone and down time, they chose to whip out their devices and connect to the Internet world of social media, etc.
I'm not judging. People can do whatever they want with their time. But are there no such thing as empty minutes? Does every free moment have to be spent scrolling up and down our mobile devices? Is the latest from Facebook that important?
I remember when the only thing we thumbed through in public was a two-month old magazine. Or, we sat quietly, thinking and relaxing.