I live on my phone.
I do not need a 12-step program. I do not need to have a cell phone-free zone. I do not need to ban phones from the dinner table or the bedroom. I do not need to “unplug” when I go on vacation.
I am a grown woman and just like everything else in my life, I know when to use moderation. I know when it’s appropriate and inappropriate to use my phone.
The backlash against technology lately is a little overexuberant in my opinion.
I need to use my cell phone for more than texting my girlfriends and playing Candy Crush. For that reason, I will tell you that I get irritated when people imply that I’m missing out on life because my face is glued to an electronic device.
We’ve all seen those HuffPost blogs telling us that our kids are growing up motherless because we’re all on Facebook at the park. Let’s be honest. You took your kids outside to play in the park. You should be patting yourself on the back at this point. If you’re like me and grew up in the 80s, we all ate frozen dinners on TV trays staring at the boob tube in silence. Let’s put this age of smart devices in a little perspective.
For that, I have a little bit of an open letter to the all the people who think I’m a lesser person if I’m using my cell phone in a public place:
To my optometrist who has signs all over his office informing his clients that there are “no cell phones allowed”: If you have me wait for more than 10 minutes, your six-month-old “Parents” magazines are not going to hold my attention. Please tell me again how checking work emails in your waiting room is bothersome to you or the other patients?
To the guy who tells me to get off my phone at the grocery store because I’m standing in his way: I keep my grocery list, which is synced with my husband’s phone, on my cell phone. If you wouldn’t embarrass me for looking at a grocery list scratched on a piece of paper, don’t call me out for looking at my phone while I figure out what type of bread crumbs I need.
To the mom who rolls her eyes because I’m on my phone at the park: I’m not ignoring my kid. I’m letting his dad know that he’s having a great time and sending him a photo.
To the patron at the restaurant who’s annoyed that I’m Facetiming with my kids at the next table over: I’ve been traveling and haven’t seen my family for a week. And no, I don’t want to wait until I’m back at my hotel room after their bed time before I tell them how much I miss them.
To the doctor who requests no electronics in the office: I understand if it interferes with your equipment, but I may request to access my notes of my symptoms and questions for you. I may also want to record the conversation because when you tell me that I may need surgery, I won’t remember anything after that.
I understand there are times when the no cell phone rule are totally appropriate. I typically have a signature on my email that says “Sent from iPhone, but not while I’m driving” to remind myself not to use it when I’m behind the wheel. I end conversations when I’m at the checkout or drive through. I typically don’t use my phone at dinner.
What I’m trying to say is, give people the benefit of the doubt. Because society’s social graces swings like a pendulum, it’s hard in this day and age to imagine that people aren’t intentionally being rude and inconsiderate if they’re on their phone around you. It may be that they are actually just living their life the best they can – not missing it while they play Candy Crush.