There was a time when a cellphone was capable (and used) for making/receiving calls and the occasional text message. Life was easier, and more friendly, those days.
My office is located on the 29th floor of a tower and when I get into the elevator along with 15 others, I am always amazed by what happens then. All my fellow occupants whip out their cellphones and there is silence on the way up while each pretends (?) to be totally occupied with what’s on their phones. Some choose just that moment to make that “important” call and bellow instructions to some hapless subordinate and conclude by saying, “I’ll be there in a minute”.
(Note : Photo for illustrative purposes only)
Once upon a time, people greeted one another, even if superficially, when entering that enclosed space. A nod, a smile, perhaps, and occasionally a “hello”. That’s history now.
What’s with these cellphones and peoples’ preoccupation with these devices? Things have reached a stage when you see people sitting around a table, each engrossed in looking at the tiny screen.
No one seems to care if their actions are impolite. Is it because they want to disengage themselves from their surroundings? Is it because they want to convey disinterest? Or a feeling of “don’t invade my space”?
Which is why it is common, nowadays, for meetings to begin with the host entreating everyone to put their cellphones in silent mode. New social conventions. Or, signs everywhere that state that cellphone usage is not allowed – at airport counters, hospitals, government offices, and more.
When I sit across a table with a client or supplier for a discussion, I always make a note of where the other person’s hands are. If they are over the table and in full view, that suggests an openness. Hiding one’s hands under the table is indicative of the likelihood that the other person is not going to be open and reasonable (honest?).
The same applies to cellphones. If I see a device placed on the table, it immediately sends me a negative signal, and I respond appropriately.
A cellphone, without doubt, is one of the more significant inventions, and has changed how people communicate, get entertained, navigate, and interact.
But, there is also a feeling that, sometimes, it is too much of a good thing. Using that “smartphone” is not always smart.
As someone said, “the future is in your hands”. I wonder if he foresaw the advent of the ubiquitous cellphone.