REFLECTION: It’s pretty easy for me to take a spin on my high horse when it comes to technology use and misuse. A while ago I found myself feeling self-righteous when a FB acquaintance posted a status update that read, “I’m really enjoying celebrating my xth anniversary – sharing dinner with my husband.” I thought to myself, you’re not really celebrating with your husband, you’re hanging with your FB pals and chatting with your Twitter buddies.
But, as they say, the chickens do come home to roost. Within days of the aforementioned FB post, my own husband and I were on vacation, lunching in Bar Harbor, Maine. These days, I always travel with my sketchbook, and have been known on occasion to lobby for a restaurant, or call dibs on a particular seat at a table, based on what there is to sketch while we’re waiting for lunch. This was one of those days.
No sooner had I placed an order for a lobster roll and a glass of wine, than I whipped out my art supplies, zeroed in on my target and started to sketch. About 5 minutes into the sketching, Dave posed this question, “So, tell me. How does a sketchbook differ from a Blackberry?”
As they say in the trade: Busted!
What he was really saying – and what he did go on to say in the clearest and kindest way possible – is that it was lonely on the other side of the table. My preoccupied engagement with pencil and sketchbook was really not much different than that of a texting fool on a blackberry. In our own ways, both of us were disconnected from the person across from us and plugged in to the world beyond.
ACTION: I learned two things that day, in that conversation.
1. The nature of the diversion or distraction is not what matters.
2. It’s our presence that makes the difference.
To wit: Is you there or is you not?
How answer you?
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.” – Albert Schweitzer
It’s perhaps a bit early for this quote about the holiday season, but the sentiment sure fits with today’s Pause message: “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” – Burton Hillis
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Here’s an interesting New York Times article: “Who’s the Boss – You or Your Gadget?
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s message, It Only Takes One, Pause reader L writes: “It seems that the things that some of us do routinely are quite unusual. I always ask the person looking after me at the checkout how they are and if they’re having a good day. Recently I walked up to a young woman and said, “Hi, how are you? How’s your day been?” She responded, “I’m good thank you. I am just about to finish for the day. I’ve done an eight hour shift and you are the first person to ask how I am!” I was flabbergasted. I just thought everyone would do that – but apparently not. I hope the people behind me heard her response and took the message on board. Thanks again for another great insight into humanity.