Next time you’re out shopping, or at a train station, maybe at the airport just put your phone down for five minutes and look around. I guarantee a disproportionate amount of the people within your gaze will be glued to their phones.
It saddens me every time i see it.
I took this picture at Geneva airport earlier this year, after sitting opposite this lot for nearly an hour. Out of 14 people in view, only two don’t have a phone out…and one of those is on his Mac.
Life is so precious to be wasted on such a device. Especially if it’s in consuming the vast amounts of drivel that’s put on social media.
Hours endlessly scrolling through Facebook, just to nosy into people’s apparent perfect lives. A highly polished, doctored version of themselves that they present to the world.
Everyone becoming their very own PR and marketing agent.
I remember buying the first iPhone, nearly 10 years ago. In fact I’m sitting in my living room, on the same sofa, in the exact same seat as when I unboxed it and switched it on for the first time.
Having the whole, fully functioning internet in your hand was a revolution. Access to anything, right there in your pocket. It was a paradigm shift in the way we knew the world. We just didn’t know it yet.
I really hate being on my phone. I obviously do use it, and have to for work. But my time is kept to a bare minimum. Especially on social media. I post stuff, but rarely consume. Life’s too short.
But it’s when i see people on trains, planes or out and about glued to their phones. As if the world around them, and all the new things they’ve never seen before are old and uninteresting.
Just gazing out at the countryside as it flies by the train window is so enjoyable.
It’s a summer’s day where the golden light caresses the barley fields. Cars fly by beside the tracks with all the tiny people on their way to work. Looking at them I try and guess what they might do, or where they are going.
In a sudden change rain starts beating against the glass window, streaking and running in lines, making new rivers out of nowhere. Then everything goes black with a sudden thud as we enter the tunnel.
The ticket collector comes through the carriage. A grumpy old soul that seems a little uneasy on his feet as the train tumbles around on its rails. He mumbles ‘tickets please’ as he goes.
Giving one of the youngsters sitting across from me a prod as he has headphones in, phone in hand. Not even looking up he holds out his ticket to the inspector, who squiggles a random mark over the date on the crinkled orange and white card.
Looking up i noticed the deeply furrowed brow, the tanned skin and wiry grey hair – roughly shoulder length. He looks like a man who has done this for years, seen all types on here and had enough. He enjoys the warmer climates, and looks as though he has just got back from Spain. Actually, he seems a little more cultured than that, it could’ve been two weeks in Greece.
I smile as I fumble for my ticket in my wallet, passing it to him he says “Thank you Sir” and beams back warm and welcoming tea stained grin.
All those minutiae details that were picked up in the space of five minutes. Things I would never have witnessed, and will never see again.
It’s total switch off, just looking around and taking everything in. Not spending it looking through Instagram, or watching YouTube video after YouTube video of some self obsessed wanker that thinks the world cares about his opinion for two hours.
My flatmate even watches TV with his smartphone glued to his hand, barely paying attention to either, whilst both screens beam out at him. Try to convey with him and it takes precisely 10 minutes before you get a response.
It kills your time, and your creativity.
Whilst you’re all buried deep in your smartphones the world is passing you by.
Life, is passing you by.
Do you remember what that is? That really amazing thing we’re given that can be snuffed out in less than a heartbeat. The thing you take for granted every single damn day.
It’s not just my generation though, or the generation that came after me – the ones that have known no different.
Seemingly it’s infected nearly every generation…except the elderly.
Tweenagers stand next to teens, sit next to business suits, across the way from a couple with kids. All gazing intently into the little computer in the palm of their hand.
The worst of it all are the couples you see out for dinner. Phone in hand for 80% of their mealtime. A few words are muttered over the 30 mins before a quick exit.
I recently sat in a restaurant and a couple came in with two kids. The very first thing the man asked the waitress, even before he sat down was ‘What’s the WiFi’. Rage.
It’s a sad new world we live in.
The march of change means we can’t turn back the clock. Maybe people will get bored of it. Maybe phone usage will be shunned again, you know…as it once was when mobiles first become pocket sized in the late 90’s?
Or maybe they’ll be a disaster in Space that takes out all the satellites. Leaving us in the technological stone age of the 1970’s.
There could even be an EMP from a nuclear blast, or a solar flare that does the same.
Uh, wouldn’t the world be a different place if everyone just looked up and took it all in.