The Pocket God Habit: A Small Sermon

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 5:15 pm (Seriously?)

Well, my time in paradise has ended and I’ve been thrown back into the realm of the real. Exuma was absolutely amazing and I do plan on sharing bits of it from time to time. I actually took over 700 pictures (close to 750 I believe) and will share some with you soon. Right now they are on a computer in North Carolina waiting to be burned onto cd’s and mailed to me (Thanks ever so much C and E!). So until I can provide you with visuals we’ll go about our daily business and come back to the trip as soon as possible. I will say it was fabulous and I’m a bit sad to be home.

Traveling is always interesting to me. I love to watch people. Sometimes they crack me up, sometimes they break my heart and sometimes they just simply annoy me. That is the case in which I am going to tell you about today. You may be one of these people and if so, I will apologize in advance for offending you.

As we boarded our plane that would take us from Atlanta to DFW I was seated beside a younger woman, probably in her early 20’s. (We flew on a 757 so there were 3 seats on each side of the isle.) She was busy texting away on her phone until the flight attendant announced that it was time to turn of all electronics. No big thing. This didn’t bother me. However, as soon as our plane touched down she and about 50 others on the plane whipped out their phones and started in on the calls. Mind you, we had only been on the plane for 2 hours and it was 10:30 at night. 2 hours…that’s it. By the speed at which this people were grappling for their phones you’d think we had lost touch with civilization days earlier. Did I mention it had only been 2 hours?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my phone. Well, let me rephrase that: I love having my phone though I hate talking on it. I love the security of knowing that I can call whomever whenever. I love having technology that enables me to keep up with friends that are far away (although I’m horrible at it; see earlier statement). But people, please! Can’t we have a little balance here? I find myself wanting to scream out and ask these folks how they survived before cell phones? What did we do when we were unable to be in constant contact with the rest of the world? And who must be called the second the plane’s wheels touch concrete? Can’t you wait 5 minutes for decency’s sake (or mine) before falling at the alter of your pocket god yet again?

The same thing can be said for restaurants (and theaters for that matter). I like to dine in peace and with the person that is sitting across from me. I don’t bring my network to the table and I don’t appreciate you bringing yours. Can’t you converse with your present company? If alone, can’t you enjoy a little solitude and quietness? The old saying, “Dance with the one that brought you” should be reworked to account for modern times. “Talk to the one you’re with.” It’s just rude to do otherwise. Now, we all have exceptions to the rule so if yours is valid, stop sulking. You’re forgiven. However, if you’re just jabbering (or texting) away because that’s what you do, you need to check your technology at the door. I will never forget the time that Mr. Nixon and I went for a romantic date at a small restaurant in Dallas called The Grape. (It’s off lower Greenville and is fabulous. It is a wine bistro that features a changing menu every two weeks.) This bistro was quite intimate and the tables were very close to one another. The prices alone should have lent for a little extra class to be shown. However, sitting near us was a couple who appeared to be on a date. I don’t know if this was a first date, a relationship or a marriage. But, just guessing by the looks of it this date was not going well. While the poor gentleman sat across from his lady, she sat rambling on and on and on into her phone. I’m not talking about a 5 minute conversation. I’m telling you that this lasted throughout our dinner. I was so tempted to go say something like this, “Excuse me sir, but I was wondering if you would care to join us at our table since your date seems to be enjoying her dinner with someone else?” I wonder if that would have shut her mouth. Would she even have noticed if he left her table?

While I’m no stickler for following all guidelines of properness (apologies, Miss Manners) I do feel that common sense should guide us. I think people need to feel free to escape the bondage of their technology for at least a couple of hours. Enjoy what is in front of you and tune out the rest. Sit and relax at dinner; go to the movies and forget the outside world; wait until you’ve gotten off the airplane to get back to your old habits. While on the island I didn’t once think about my cell phone. How lovely it was. What a fuller experience I had because I was 100% there.

And while I’m sure that cellphone etiquette may never be fully observed I challenge you to consider what conversation you’re engaging in while in the presence of strangers. Are you ignoring the relationships that are in your presence to foster another? Can you quit the pocket god habit and replace it with something healthy…like face-to-face interaction? Can you be in one place with you body and mind? Talk to the one you’re with. It’s that simple.

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3 Comments

  1. Megan said,

    Well said, Jonna. I think the rudeness has hit an all time high, or low, depending on how you look at it. I am still in shock over the rudeness displayed yesterday by the cashier who had her phone hidden in the cash register and was texting while I was checking out.

    Yes, her store manager will be hearing about it. 🙂

  2. Fran White said,

    Thanks for sending me your blogsite sweetie, I’ll have to bookmark it.

    Looking forward to seeing the pictures.

    I’m guilty of the cell phone thing, it’s my job. 🙂

  3. I think I’ve seen it all… « Nixon: Now More Than Ever said,

    […] to die soon? I just wanted to tell you one thing regarding my previous post on cell phone usuage (The Pocket God Habit: A Small Sermon). I took a few of my youth gals from Allen Bible to Six Flags on Thursday (which I will blog more […]

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