When I was travelling home from the amazing WDS conference, I found myself aboard an urban light rail transit vehicle headed for the airport. I settled into my seat and reflexively stretched my hand toward my purse to grab my iPhone. Something made me pause long enough to make a different choice. I thought that it was the perfect experiment to see how it would be to commute for 50 minutes ‘unplugged’.
Here’s what I discovered:
The first thing I noticed when I glanced around at my fellow travellers was that I was the ONLY person not consulting a piece of technology. Curious. It would seem that we have become so incredibly attached to our iPhones & iPads and androids & tablets that they have come to serve as both security blanket and shield.
If we are feeling at all alone, holding said piece of technology is confirmation that we are connected to others ~ that we matter. We need not interact with those nearby, we’ve got far more important connections in the virtual world. People check for texts, emails, fresh tweets or Facebook status updates. We may wear a bemused smile as we bask in the security of insider knowledge upon reading the info. Safe in the belief that we are connected to so many others, we need not engage with those in our physical space.
This technique serves as a shield as well. Holding your piece of technology lets the world know that you’ve got better things to do. The sight of ear bud wires hanging on either side of one’s head is an unspoken message of “don’t speak to me”. If you want to avoid real, human interactions this nifty trick will serve you well.
As for me, well I found myself in a conversation with a rough looking man who boarded the train with nothing in his hands. Let’s say that he looked well worn. And, had I been holding my iPhone in my hand, I might have glanced up briefly and then quickly put my head down to address the important content on the screen. Instead, I smiled warmly at him and he felt comfortable enough to launch into a conversation about his experiences in the war many, many years ago. Were his stories true? I cannot say for certain. What I do know is that it was my pleasure to bear witness to those stories. And, if for a while he felt heard, then it was my privilege to share time with him.
How about you? Are you willing to try a bit of time unplugged? Next time you find yourself with a spare moment while out in the public eye, try leaving your tech gadget alone. There is much to see and learn in an acoustic world!
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This post was written by megan