Texting in A Crowd

Texting in A Crowd
Perusing the paper, I glanced upon a comic where a girl is attending an outdoor garden party. It’s packed with people. They look like sardines squished in-between the bar-b-que, trees and birdbath. The girl is centered on the grounds like a bull’s eye. Her cell phone buzzes. She looks at it, glancing at the message she smiles and responds with a few slicks of her thumb, “Thanks for texting back, I really needed someone to talk to.”

How sad. How embarrassing. How totally slamming on our society as a whole. To think she’s surrounded by people. She can’t talk to any of them yet she'll forgo general courtesy by carrying on a conversation with someone who is not even at the party. And she won't even physically speak to that person. She opts for condensed words on a screen.

We could go on and on about the poor taste of the character in this comic. And yes, this is a comic. But clearly art is imitating life. There are groups of teens at the mall, the park and even Disneyland who are out with a dozen people and texting on their phones to others who are not in their group. Is there a reason they can't talk to those around them? There are people in restaurants so addicted to their phones that they will take them to the restroom with them just in case it buzzes. I go walking with friends and it's a subway full of bells and rings and whistles. You can't carry on a complete conversation as a group because someone is always looking at their phone. And don’t get me started on the checkout line in the grocery store.

What does this say about how sad it is that people can't carry on a face to face conversation? First, apparently no one at the party is worthy stepping out of her comfort zone and attempt conversation with. She’s surrounded by people but none of them register on her give-a-rip-meter. Is she really that shy and socially awkward? But shy people have class, so what’s with texting in a crowd? Also, she will text to her phone (the fact that she gave it a glance at a party says loads about her consideration for others), rather than attempt to be considerate of those around her. Her entire act says that it’s not worth her time to meet and talk to these people she's with.

This is texting etiquette at its worst. Cell phones are made to be a convenience for a person, not an annoyance for everyone around them. These phones were not created to make people socially inept. But that is increasingly becoming the result.

Look up. Look around. There is a breathing human being next to you who deserves to be acknowledged. It’s your job, being part of the human race, to reach out to others. Say “hello”. Give a stranger a smile. And for goodness sake, talk to the people you are with. Don’t save your best conversations and nicest manners for those who can’t even see or hear you.

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