No matter how many times my daughter and I have visited Disney World, it never loses its magic for either of us. So when we recently boarded a boat at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, we were giddy as it slid into the water, anticipating what had always lain ahead – a chance to step into a great adventure. As we winded through the damp caves and tunnels, reality shifted and I imagined being transported to another time as thunder rumbled and a salty breeze rolled in. In the distance a cannon fired and marauders shouted while, much closer, a mermaid sang an eerie melody, completely setting the scene for our little vessel. And that’s when I heard it: the unmistakable ring…. of a cell phone.
I’d like to say that this is where my story ends, that the passenger who yanked our little boat back to present day scrambled to silence her phone. But that’s not what happened at all. To my complete amazement, we all watched while the woman proceeded to answer the call and talk throughout the entire ride – loudly. After resisting the urge to throw her overboard, I took a deep breath and did my best to tune her out. I should be used to this, I thought. After all, isn’t this what people do nowadays? On the train? On line at the grocery store? At the movies?!
Just last week, I was at my daughter’s high school talent show watching a parent whose face was illuminated all night by the light of his cell phone. He rarely looked up to see the talent, the camaraderie, the pure joy of living that was happening all around him. And it was sad to watch.
Current technology puts the world at our fingertips. We can talk to our phones and they’ll text for us. We can find gas, the best Italian food or the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts within five miles of our current location. We can do our banking, check traffic, email, tweet and inbox, and check our children’s report cards… all from a tiny touch screen. It’s convenient. It’s efficient. It’s amazing. But it makes it very easy to forget good manners. And it also makes it very easy to forget that in order to tweet about life you actually have to live it first.