A couple of months back I was heading back home on a train journey from London where disaster struck; my phone had died. Furiously searching for my portable battery pack, I discovered this had lost all juice too. Frankly, I was stuffed.
In a society of digital hysteria, what on earth would I do for the next forty minutes of my journey? No emails, no Spotify and even more horrifying, no Instagram. Fuck! I actually started to feel a little uneasy. With seats full of people, eyes down, headphones on, I preceded to awkwardly stare out of the window in an attempt to feel less outta place on this one way carriage of doom. A little tap on my shoulder later, a rather adorable old lady started up a conversation with me about the wristband I had on my arm. I had been to a show at London Fashion Week that day and to my genuine surprise she wanted to hear all about it. So, for the next forty minutes or so I engaged in the unthinkable; a conversation with a stranger. Which might I add, was lovely. We chatted about all sorts, her life, my life, we went back and forth with genuine chit chat and before I could even blink, I had arrived at my stop. It was so refreshing, completely enjoyable and rewarded me with a smile for the rest of the day. It’s funny how a moment away from social media can make you feel. That moment has stayed with me. This, in addition to my to my recent stint away from social media (which you can remind yourselves with here) really got me thinking.
When was the last time you genuinely put down your phone and passed up the all consuming and addictive social engagement for a real one? Putting the obvious aside, of course we meet up with friends, I’m not saying that we don’t but let’s face it, is it completely phone free? Who’s guilty of finding themselves in an ‘I’m sorry, what was that you just said’ situation because you were so distracted by that pesky little iPhone in your hands? Heaven forbid does anyone use that god damn piece of apple tech to have an actual phone call these days? Has WhatsApp overstepped the boundaries and replaced ‘Hello, how are you?’ with a rather underwhelming emoji face? So many questions. I’m pretty sure I know the answer to all of them. These throwaway comments by the way, are all crimes I’m totally guilty committing myself.
Have you seen that meme where it says something like ‘making plans at the time vs when the day comes and you actually have to go’. The ease of social media has made us lazy and worst of all complacent. All thanks to Netflix and convenience services like Deliveroo, it’s become the ‘norm’ to stay inside, hibernate and turn our backs on the world, and as a result, socialising also sits on the back burner. Do we need to be more forward in a world of empty promises? ‘It’s been ages, yeah sure let’s meet I’ll get back to you’. It’s all very save it for later. Imagine if we made concrete plans, set dates, right there and then, and then see them through and then show up. Shock horror. Imagine how that would change the way in which we talk to one another, open up, be confident and comfortable in each others company.
I worry that because of social media and a get out of jail free card when it comes to communicating with our loved ones, we’ve simply lost that special touch. What can we do in order to connect outside of our social societies? Call me bonkers but this week I sent cards out to my loved ones. Without wanting to play the sympathy card, I ended up in A&E at the weekend and I was looked after, rightly so, by my friends and family. Phones down, they were there for me, no questions asked. A simple ‘thank you for being there for me’ text just didn’t seem enough, that wasn’t going to cut it for me. Whether it was for my own benefit or theirs, picking out a cute card, scribbling down my feelings of gratitude, made me feel like my thank you was more genuine, more heartfelt and that’s exactly what I wanted to portray at the time.
No doubt you could be reading this on that infamous mobile phone of yours. Make it your mission today to have a face to face, phone free conversation and if you’re feeling sassy enough, have that conversation with somebody new. Go on, I bloomin’ dare you!