This evening after dinner I took my kids and one neighbor kid to the lake for a walk on the Nature Trail. It was a beautiful, cool night, the kind we don’t get many of before the summer swelter rolls in. There was a woman sitting on a park bench and instead of looking at the lake or watching the sky change colors, she was, you guessed it, playing with her phone. I wanted to throw it in the lake for her and tell to look up and see what she’s missing out on, but I refrained.
Cell phones drive me crazy. I’m tired of listening to other people’s conversations in the grocery store, tired of being ignored by friends who are more interested in their phones and tired of watching parents miss out on their kids’ lives because they have a compulsive need to check their phones every ten seconds.
I was guilty of obsessive compulsive phone checking so I decided to have phone free times during the day. From the time I get home from work until my kids go to bed, the phone stays in my car. I also don’t touch the phone while driving. Okay, honestly, sometimes I look at it in the car. But I’m really trying not to! Red lights are so tempting because I can’t sit quietly and wait for the light to change. How ridiculous is that? I recognize my need for constant visual simulation and I’m proactively cultivating some peace and quiet in my life instead. Now at red lights I look up at the sky or I pray.
My children are going to be little for such a short time, a fleeting moment. I want to soak it all in. I want to hear the giggles and whispers, feel the jelly kisses and hand squeezes and see as many excruciatingly perfect moments of their childhood as I possibly can. I refuse to be a slave to the cell phone and become tethered to it like a ball and chain. No one ever lies dying in a hospital bed and says, ‘I wish I had spent more time on the phone.’