catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 11, Num 4 :: 2012.02.17 — 2012.03.01


Vibrating assassins

This morning I was inspired and perturbed by an article in Maclean’s magazine. Journalist Scott Feshuk wrote a humorous and all too relatable open letter addressed to an anonymous “Señor Jerkface,” which I’m sure could remind us all of the people in our lives who are too technologically “happy” during real life conversations with real life people.  They start texting in the middle of the conversation you were both seemingly committed to, believing themselves superior to the norm of table manners that has now become a hazy line of vibrating phones and awkward stares. The ongoing buzz of constant networking, following, tweeting and texting in crowded restaurant dining rooms has replaced the buzz of chatter, moving lips, eye contact and ears pricked up listening to a partner’s commentary. The ancient signs of real communication are harder to come by, and even harder to practice with someone else. Some of my school friends operate their mobile devices like a fifth limb, and to separate one from the other is like separating a suckling newborn from a mother’s breast.

My friends and I have created a rule where you must put all mobile devices in the middle of the group and may not reach for it, check it or use it during lunch. We do this to encourage friendly communication between friends, instead of strained conversations with friends plus five hundred or so other friends of friends simultaneously connected to their mobile device. It’s hard to compete for attention with five hundred other people sending a friend’s device into a vibrating spasm until they satisfy the phone’s cries with instant responses, as if they were responding to a 9-1-1 distress call.

The logic of the constant texters and tweeters is a chaotic swarm I will never understand. How they justify demolishing a perfectly agreeable conversation is beyond me. When they reach for their all-access pass while you go on about your boyfriend’s recent late night out is like a neon sign screaming, “You and your problems bore me!” The action is extremely offensive and impertinent, and yet society seems to accept it as a way of life, and a trivial side effect of the excess of instantaneous networking and contact.

I will not be caught up and dragged along this technologically inclined current. I refuse to be one of those friends who fake listening, or one of those parents who for some unimaginable motive think their eight-year-old needs an iPhone. I will fight the rushing current of instantaneous information, constant networking, overflowing new standards and consumerist mentality these manufacturers feed off of. I will not accept this way of life or ignore the effects technology has had and continues to have on the relationships with my friends. When someone reaches for her convenient pocket-sized world connection, I will refuse to continue the conversation until she is finished and has apologized for the inconsiderate behavior. I will not be undermined and nodded off by a hunk of technological genius. I won’t accept being less important than a toy you replace every couple months. I will be treated like a person, a friend, and someone worth listening to — not someone who is interrupting your constant updating and need for acceptance from the cyber world. I am not interrupting your conversation with the world — you are interrupting a conversation between you and me, not you and your handful of followers, friends and conversation assassins.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus