I was in Panera waiting for a friend when I first noticed the trend. I am sure that people have been talking about it for a while. I’m sure that I’m behind in noticing. But I am also sure that I can’t be the only one who sees it. Most everyone there was alone, enjoying their muffins and coffee by the light of a computer or a hand-held device. Did you catch that? Everyone was alone. Everyone had a computer or phone and was completely “plugged in.” There were no interactions because people weren’t looking up, weren’t making eye contact, weren’t even aware that there were other people around them. I get it. Sometimes we have work to get done and don’t want to work at home. I go out with my laptop once a week, at least, to get things done without the demands of two small girls ringing in my ears. But I still like to watch people. I still like to look up and smile and connect with those around me.
I have been thinking about this for a few days and I decided that a short story was in order. It’s in the works, but it’s taking longer than I planned because I’m running into snags. For example, how severe of a situation will it take to snap my main character out of this self-induced technological coma? Pretty severe. And how can I make that situation believable? It’s tough, I tell you. But I’m working through it because I think it’s important to think about what incredible moments we might be missing while glued to a screen. What beauty is right there in front of us, unseen and unappreciated? If we could pause from our business for an hour , what treasures might we discover? When it all comes together, I think it’s going to make for a great story! I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, take time to look up and connect with the beauty of the people and places around you. It only takes a moment.