A couple of weekends ago I sat in the back of a 4,000 women worship service. While being surrounded by amazing music-with the entire goal to draw you into a place of worship-I couldn’t help but notice the amount of women holding up their cell phones. I couldn’t stop noticing it. It was suddenly everywhere. Women filming the worship service. Women taking selfies. Women taking pictures of friends. During. Worship.
Then I realized-we’ve lost the ability to be in the moment. How many times have you been at dinner with your friends and you pick up your phone. For nothing. Not because you got a text or an alert but just because you might have. I do it all the time. I’m bored, I pick up my phone. I’m in the middle of work, I pick up my phone. I spend so much time on it that I forget to look around. I forget about my actual human connections. Do you do this too? I’m betting yes. I’m betting that the little notification light on your phone drives you just as crazy as it does me. To the point where I have to turn my phone upside down at night so it doesn’t wake me up in the middle of the night-because it will. As I type this, my phone is right next to me-plugged in. Just so I don’t miss a text. It’s just crazy.
As a population have we lost the ability to just be present in the day? Maybe asking people to be present in the day is too much. Can we at least be present when people are talking to us? At meals. During meetings. During presentations. While we are just sitting as a family.
You know what the problem is when you spend most of your time communicating via text/instant messaging/facebook? You only view the conversation through one lens. You only know your part of the conversation. You only know your tone. You only have a reference of previous conversations. You are missing the nonverbal cues. I fully believe that is why so much miscommunication happens when talking online.
My friends live so far away that I rely on my phone to keep up on their lives. I love my phone. I love the instant communication opportunities it gives me. I don’t love what it has done to me. I don’t love changing my day around the damn thing. I have left things early because my phone is dying. I just want to do better.
Let me tell you about a date that I went on a couple years ago, not the full date, you just don’t need that many details about this instance. I’m not even going to tell you where on the internet I met him. Just that I met him on the internet. I’ll start from the time we exchanged phone numbers.
I’m not a phone person. I don’t like talking on the phone. I’m leery about giving out my phone number-especially to strangers. My phone is almost always with me and if someone has my number they can reach me everywhere. It’s not like when my phone was attached to the wall. Now they can reach me at Wal-Mart, the gas station, work, and the gym. It just seems so much more personal than giving them a landline. I gave him my number. I even programmed his name in. You’re laughing but I am not the attachment type. It takes a lot to get me there and normally your name doesn’t get programmed in unless I think you’re going to stick around. I programmed it in anyway.
He called. We talked. I was a fan. As much of a fan as I could be you know? Intelligent. Holds conversation well. Good at arguing. And that was just what I brought to the table. It was going to be a good time. We decided to meet. I was so nervous. Like, couldn’t control myself nervous. It took me three hours to get ready. He was going to take me to a steak house franchise and I wasn’t concerned about being over-dressed.
I have to interrupt this story. I’ve done some really really dumb things in my life. Things that are unsafe. Things that should have led to murder. I’ve lived to tell. Please do not do these things. I don’t do them anymore. It’s a terrible idea and dumb. You’re not dumb. Don’t do them.
I met him in a parking lot. He got out and opened the door of his truck and I got in. (see? Dumb. So fucking dumb) We were going to a neighboring town. He said I looked nice and we started talking. On the way there he put his hand on my thigh and I didn’t move it. He asked if we could go to Denny’s instead of the original plan. I agreed. Disappointed. And a little angry if we are honest. I had spent three damn hours trying to get ready and look nice. Nope. Denny’s. I could have worn pajamas. Sigh. Oh well. I tried so hard not to stare at him. He was unbelievably attractive. This made me nervous.
You know what I remember about that night? How he helped me across the parking lot because it was icey. How he never made me feel unattractive. He didn’t flirt with or stare at the waitress-no matter how hard she tried. He didn’t stare at other women when they walked past. He looked at me. He kept as much eye contact as I would allow him. He helped me into his gigantic truck. He held my hand for a bit on the way home. He brushed the hair out of my face. He learned things I liked. He made fun of me and didn’t act like I was dumb. It was one of the nicest feelings another person has given me.
Sometimes you just need to reflect on the people who have made you feel great in your life. I have a lot of amazing people in my life. People I admire so much and stalk relentlessly on Facebook. My dating history is all over the map. Most of that is my fault and some of it is because modern dudes are douchebags. This is a happy memory. The fact that I wasn’t murdered is just the raspberry filling in that cake.