“I know the light is green, just let me finish this sms.”

2014-09-16 07:37

A lot has been said about the advancement of technology and the effect it might have on our ability to function in a social setting but I’m not going to talk about all that. My problem is not how, but rather when do we choose to communicate using modern technology.

Since I’ve had the idea to write this piece I started taking note of how often we allow technology to infringe on personal relationships and distract us from pretty important priorities.

I don’t know what it is that makes us think it is fine to talk on the cell phone, change gears and handle the steering with our knees all at the same time?

I had to pop out to the bottle store yesterday at 5:55pm, in quite a rush thank you Mrs Zille, and on my leisurely drive back home I noticed a young woman, maybe in her late twenties, driving in front of me, with a baby on board sticker, and two toddlers standing on the back seat. She came to a standstill at the robot and then proceeded to drop her head and write a sms or text or whatever. When the light turned green and I saw she hadn’t looked up yet I informed her it was time to get a move on with a quick jab at the hooter. She replied by yelling into her rear view mirror and a making a few suggestive hand signals.

I suppose there isn’t much else to say about that.

But it even surprises me more how often cell phones become a mood spoiler, or topic of conversation or even a distraction from conversation with a real human being sitting in front of us.

Drinking coffee at a breakfast restaurant at the weekend I creepily studied five couples sitting there having eggs and bacon. Three out of the five were completely preoccupied with their cell phones before, during and after the meal. In some cases their partners were chatting away while the cell phone user would just nod. I couldn’t make out if they were nodding to what their partners were saying or were just in agreement with their cousin’s best friend’s mothers’ latest status update.

There is nothing worse for me than preparing an awesome dinner with friends and while everybody is chilling at the dinner table waiting for the food and the conversation takes a bit of a dive, people start reaching for their phones.

I personally think the dawn of modern technology has introduced us to a whole new world of amazing opportunities. Communicating with my brother in New York is super easy and costs almost nothing. However, I believe it is up to us to set the boundaries and prioritise. We all live crazy busy lives but I don’t think the person that sent you that email will mind if you pull over and reply without endangering people's lives.

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