Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Live In The Moment

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The River Music Experience, or RME, hosts a summer concert series called Friday Live @ Five. We learned about this last summer and went every Friday night that we could. We’re doing it again this summer, too. It’s a free two hour live concert. The bands range in genre from rock to country to blues to indie. Last Friday night Tim and I and some friends and family met in downtown Davenport for the first concert of the summer. It was a beautiful warm-but-not-humid evening. People were dancing, listening to the band, singing along, having a libation, and chatting with each other. And you know what? I DID NOT SEE A CELL PHONE THE WHOLE TIME!  I realized this after the fact. Not one time did I see anyone texting or otherwise furiously punching with their thumbs on their phones. For two hours at least one hundred and fifty or so people were IN THE MOMENT.

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A couple of weeks ago we were in a Des Moines area restaurant. Two high school couples came in dress in prom finery.  The boys wore three piece suits and the girls had on sparkly dresses. As soon as they were seated, all four pulled out their cell phones and began tapping away. I wondered how any of them even got a date for the night. They must have arranged it through text messages, because they sure couldn’t talk to each other. I also wondered who they could possibly be texting. Who or what was more interesting than the people they were with? And why didn’t they go to the prom with those people?

One time, I was in my car and noticed two people walking side by side with their dogs. My line of vision started at the two dogs, worked its way up their leashes to the owners, who were both looking at their phones! I barked out a sarcastic laugh. (Pun intended.)

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Recently,I read an interview on line where a famous country artist discussed how audiences these days were a mass of arms holding up phones. He missed the days of seeing concert goers’ faces. Is it vanity that makes people record the events they go to? (Hey look what I did and you didn’t!) Are they going to forget the event if they don’t have a recording of it? Will they ever even look at the recording again, except to show others? How many weeks will go by before they delete the event from their phone?

We’ve all seen it. People not in the moment because of their phone. We’ve all probably done it at one time or another. Friends, allow me a moment to stand on my soap box and have a rant. Smart phones are great. I have one. I love having the ability to send messages through several different formats. I can’t imagine not having my camera with me at all times. I love that I can get to the internet from my phone, but we need to realize that it –the smart phone- is a tool. A tool. Developed to make a job or task easier. That’s what tools do.

They should not control our lives. They should not shield us from living. Living means talking to the people around you. Living means enjoying without having to record. Living means waiting. Living means the delay of gratification. Instant gratification is the enemy. Smart phones are instant gratification. Fight the urge.
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Thank you. I’m officially off my soap box now.

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself,


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