Put that Phone Down

Whenever I’m out and I see people spending their time together looking down at their phones or gadgets instead of engaged in conversation with those around them, I think it is sad that it has become so common to spend time in someone’s presence without actually spending time in their company. I try to avoid falling into the trap, but know that I sometimes give too much of my time to gadgets.

Still, this trip is turning out to be sort of unique in that I’ve realized recently that Sriram and I spend a lot of our meals looking down at our phones. Strangers who see us probably shake their heads as we sit at a table attached to our devices, barely speaking to each other. They are thinking we are typical 2014 younguns (I like to think they think that anyway), glued to our technology and unable to interact together.

Meal times, as it is turning out, are often our first quiet moments of the day to review places and plans for our next stop (a lot of times our moments of looking at our phones are punctuated with “What do you think about…?” types of questions. We have lots of time to interact while driving and seeing, and certainly talk about the travels along the way. But often we need to look things up, or book things from our phones.

We also take those moments when we’re not driving, and not actively engaged in some type of site-seeing activity to catch up with the outside world. We use those moments to read Facebook posts, respond to emails and messages, check phone messages, pay bills, check in with friends and neighbors, and deal with normal day-to-day issues. I often find myself wanting to explain to those around us, that we’re capable of normal, human interaction – it’s just when your used to talking to people several times per week, and now you can’t, you take the moments you can to reach out and say hello.

So, I hope those that see us in our travels will not judge us too harshly. We’re spending 24 hours together, 7 days per week, for 2 solid months. I think we’ll be OK if we spend a couple lunch breaks looking down at our phones. One of these days, I might even break out a book.

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