Life in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)
2MI is short for too much information. Do we really need all the information that is now available at our fingertips 24/7 and in a flash? Are smart phones really smart? How can something be called smart that forces us to act dumb? Having your nose stuck in a cell phone or laptop for hours every day seems ridiculous. Is the obliteration of personal contact and interaction smart?
I myself am guilty of relying too much on my cell phone. Don’t get me wrong, cell phones are very useful and helpful, but there has to be a line drawn someplace. The only reason I got a smart phone was because my son wanted the new iPhone 5 and I took his old one replacing my trusty and simple flip phone. I hated it but my girlfriend convinced me to give it a chance. Thanks Michele! Me and my phone are now joined at my new hip.
My two sons and I went to Harvard Square recently and decided to have a bite at a burrito place. They ordered their food and we all sat down at a table. Did we engage in lighthearted conversation and spirited banter? Nope. We all took out our iPhones and didn’t say a word to each other. That was until I finally said, “This is terrible! Look at us sitting here on our phones instead of talking to each other!” Technology is killing off personal interaction.
My worst fear is walking over a sewer, manhole or especially that huge grate in the Porter Square parking lot. I picture my phone falling in and being lost forever. And then what would I do? If you asked me what my closest family members, friends and loved ones’ cell phone numbers were I’d say, “I dunno!” My life is in my phone, and it’s a shame. What did we do before all this technology started running our lives?
Dad used to make sure we always had a dime with us for a phone call in case we were late (I always had a dime even though I seldom called!). But just walk by Starbucks or one of those fancy shmancey café’s in Davis Square. Everyone is on a laptop. What are they doing that’s so important? Playing Free Birds or Words for Nerds? How did we survive the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s without cell phones and laptops? I don’t know, but we did. We rely too heavily on computers, cell phones and iPads.
Can you imagine if all the kids currently enrolled at Somerville High School, Matignon, St. Clements and every other school around left their cell phones at home for one day? I believe there would be panic. Yet I got through four years of high school and four years of college with no cell phone. And believe me, my parents were still able to bug the crap out of me without being able to reach me at any moment night or day. If I had a cell phone back then, I would have simply not answered it when my parents’ number came up!
About a year ago at around six in the morning, I was walking my dog on College Ave. and a block away coming towards me was a guy flailing his arms and shouting. Since I was the only one around, I thought this man was screaming at me. I got very nervous and started to prepare a defense. I was going to start running in the opposite direction! Well, it turns out he was on a blue tooth hands free thing and he was arguing with someone. I went from defensive and scared to relieved very quickly. And don’t you love the people whose lives are so hectic and busy that they have to have that blue tooth receiver thing stuck in their ear at all times? Give me a break.
And what about the safety aspect of all this technology? The other night a young girl was jaywalking across Mystic Ave. at 9:15 p.m. She had earplugs on and she was texting as she slowly and carelessly walked across the busy, dark street, barely visible. Another guy was tooling down Broadway from Magoun Square on a bike with headphones on, and no hands on the handlebars. One pebble in the road and it’s…head over heels. Oh, and by the way, he didn’t have a helmet on either.
Technology made our lives a lot easier but now it’s coming back to bite us in the behind. Granted, everyone needs a cell phone in case of an emergency, but the real emergency is the disappearance of one on one communication.
And you would think that Facebook would keep friends and family connected and closer? Think again. I know lots of family members who have “de-friended” and “blocked” each other. Real “smart.” Would my mother have been able to nag my dad at Pat Connolly’s bar if he had a cell phone? Maybe, maybe not. Never mind blocking the number, he would probably have just shut it off.
Yes, I would be lost without my smart phone. It’s my link to the Internet, my family, and the very important information I desperately need in a pinch. Just yesterday I had to look up how old Ginger from Gilligan’s Island was.