At an upscale restaurant with two women friends the other night, I watched one play with her android nonstop during dinner. She showed us over 100 photos taken with several cameras on the device. She pulled up Google Earth and other apps and played with them. The conversation was never allowed to stray far from her ‘droid.
This woman is in her mid-forties; the other friend and I are 87 and 79, respectively. The 87-year-old is sharp as a tack but knows nothing about electronic devices. While I know my way around computers, I’m a tyro compared to the ‘droid addict. Since all social interaction was dominated by her, my older friend and I could only listen and look at the photos. I could excuse this rudeness if my younger friend were showing off a new toy that she was enchanted with. But she’s had it over a year.
Doesn’t it ever occur to ‘droid junkies that they’re being rude? With their fingers dancing over their devices and their eyes focused on the images, they’re only half present at best. They don’t make eye contact. Where in God’s name are they? Would taking their ‘droids away leave them feeling helpless and naked?
In the 1990s, I was addicted to internet chat rooms. Sometimes I sat at my computer 16 hours at a stretch, getting up only for bathroom breaks or food. When my computer crashed one weekend, I was desolated. Only then did it occur to me that I’d become a chat room junkie. Fortunately, around that time the rooms began to degenerate and I lost my taste for them.
Droid addicts seem to be under a spell, cut off from their physical environment and human intimacy. After a few hours in their company, I feel unworthy and boring. Soon I’ll have the nerve to say, “It’s me or the ‘droid. Take your pick.”