We meet at a quaint coffee house where the vibe is European and being there makes you feel French.
We are getting together for coffee. Double Mocha Latte’s – iced. It should be nice. It should be fun. We haven’t seen each other in awhile. You texted me last night saying you had so much to tell me. I am all ears.
Here you come. Looking pretty. Well dressed. Nails done. We hug, and you ask if I’ve ordered. I tell you I was waiting for you, and our coffee date is off to a great start.
We get our drinks and pastry you say you don’t even like, and we sit at a table on the patio, in the sun. Some small talk transpires about the kids and the school year, and I tell you my parents are settling in after having made the move from New York to Los Angeles recently. You gasp and ask, “How’s it going?” But with that gasp you reach for your Michael Kors wristlet … you know the kind. It’s the designer wallet that fits a phone and credit cards. It also has a strap that wraps around your wrist.
Well—you grab it, and you pop it open by sliding a little golden lock and TA-DA there is your glistening iPhone 6S with a bunch of notifications from Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Vine and so so many more, and suddenly, you are GONE.
As I am about 1 minute and 30 seconds into telling you about the adjustments my parents have had to make here in LA and what they need from me, I realize I could change the subject to gardening and Venus Fly Traps, and you would still say “Uh-huh” after my next sentence and nod and not look up. I can see that you are clearly scrolling through your Facebook feed, or answering a text with LMAO and the laughing, crying emoji.
You are like … cheating on me—right in front of me, by having an entirely different conversation with someone else while I am speaking to you.
It’s so beyond rude. It’s so condescending and passive aggressive. It’s so unacceptable. The amount of resentment I feel when these interactions are taking place is intense. I have seriously walked away from these situations more than once and have left these friends behind. FOR GOOD.
I think a lot of people have experienced these types of interactions. You know, when a device comes between you and a human being. Is it high maintenance to want your friends to be there with you? Am I the difficult one? Probably.
I don’t think it’s too much to ask. I think it’s appropriate to want the attention of the person I’m sitting across from. Whether it’s my friend in a coffee shop or my husband in a movie theater or my children at the dinner table, the phones should go away.
I wanted to tell my friend that my father is having a rough time here in LA. I wanted her to know how he misses Central Park and that the cancer is back. And this time, it’s skin cancer. I wanted to tell her about my new business venture. I wanted to ask her about her girls and her husband, and I wanted to hear the latest regarding her auditions and what’s new with her career.
I want to look my husband in the eye and see him smile and exchange words and emotions and laughs … Contact. I want my children to be present in the world, in the moment … I want them to be aware of their real world surroundings, therefore, content with their place in the world. I need for them to know where they stand, literally, or they may find themselves lost later in life because CYBER SPACE is not REAL SPACE or REAL TIME.
My friend left the coffee shop after receiving a text alerting her that her Zoom meeting would be starting 45 minutes earlier than expected. Her UBER arrived to get her back to the office. I guess it’s 2016 and the days of human connection are numbered. I’m not sure if she looked up from her phone as she left, but I feared I would never see her again. ‘Cause even if I did … is it worth it?
Time is valuable, and people matter. What we have to say and what we feel still matters, and we have to stay conscious and aware of our habits.
Get off your phone. Seriously.