”So many faces
staring at their shoe laces
when all everyone wants
is to be seen”

So sings James Blunt in one of my favorite songs, I’ll be your man. Every time I hear it I can’t help but be amazed by his ability to choose his words, because he’s so right. In a world where the faces of people seem to be glued to the screens of various devices (change the shoe laces for a screen, will you) there is no better way of saying it.

All everyone wants is to be seen
though it is way easier to hide behind the screen

(…of our smart phones. How smart are they, though?)

It is the first thing we lay our eyes on in the morning (I dare you to try a traditional alarm clock! How liberating would that be.) and the last thing we hold in our hands before we fall asleep at night. It joins us for our morning run and is with us at breakfast and on the train. It’s there in the traffic lights, the grocery store and even in the bathroom; not for me, personally, but we all know that one person who finds the toilet seat the perfect place to send a text or, even worse, a voice message.

Besides a means of contacting someone over the telephone lines, it serves as our camera, alarm clock and calendar. It gives us access to the bus schedule, our finances and the daily news, not to mention the terrific advantage of being able to read our work email at any time of day (or night).

It is everything we ever wanted, everything we could possibly need; everywhere, anytime. Our best friend.

What happened to our real best friends…?

Are we losing connection? I think we are.

We’re on the bus but we miss out on what’s happening around us because we’re always on our phones – yes, I am currently so sick of my phone. Instead of grounding ourselves in the now (when was the last time we were just sitting there, watching the world pass by outside the window?) we text, we talk and catch up on the mostly negative news from the other side of the world all the while scrolling through feed after feed after feed, desperate for something interesting to show up, something to keep us entertained and to give our brain that familiar dopamine rush that it so feverishly seeks.

We float around in cyberspace instead of saying hi to the person who just sat down next to us. In fact, we barely even see them ’cause we’re so busy on our phones that we forget about them as soon as we’d let out that quiet sigh in protest of the fact that they just had to choose that particular seat. We might be there physically, but mentally we’re in another time and space.

Life is happening here and now, on the bus, with the people physically present, but we’re on our phones.

“Seems that everyone we know
is out there waiting by a phone
wondering why they feel alone
in this life…”

Another good one by James Blunt, Satellites. As for myself, I can’t be on my phone when I’m on the bus for the simple reason that I start feeling sick. Thus, I oftentimes just sit and watch people stare into their screens. Every now and then I might bump into someone reading a book (how hardcore is that!?), but for the most part people will be on their phones, which is just so sad to see. Is this our future? I mean we’re already there, but it’s not going to get any better.

Having spent one year working in cyberspace I am almost allergic to it now. It might suit some, but it’s safe to say that it was not my thing. Being online, mostly on Facebook, for 8+ hours a day and bumping into work-related stuff here and there and everywhere not only during work hours but in your free time as well was way too much for me, resulting in me never really being able to disconnect. By the end of the year I was so ready to through all my devices in the Baltic Sea, not kidding.

I can feel my brain spinning by the mere thought of it. My eyes are tired from staring at the screen, the characters are spinning before my eyes. My thoughts are all over the place and I get anxious, not to mention nauseous if I’m on the bus. I scroll and scroll and scroll until I catch myself in frustration and put my phone away, only to bring it out again two minutes later because shit, I had to reply to X and check if Y’s gotten back to me and wonder if the bus is on time… 

Ever so often I find myself pondering whether I should just leave Facebook and stop using Instagram completely. Those postable moments could easily be moved here, and as for the rest, well… I’d miss out on quite a few free events which I have tendency to run into on Facebook, but other than that I wouldn’t even care. I would not even care, because I’d rather connect with people in real life, face to face. Human connection, you know.

“Reality lies far from any screen.”

No further comments.

I used to say I wish I had a tiny little beach bar somewhere on Hawaii where I’d serve fresh fruit juices to happy people with all my loved ones next to me. Simplicity at its best. All I need.

Please, take me to Hawaii!

With tired eyes and a tired mind,
Anna