We live in an age of constant technological advancement. Our phones are attached to our hands, we think in abbreviations, and we have a need for nonstop stimulation. I’ll be the first to admit, I am contributing to this generation of technologically addicted zombies. I walk from class to class, from home to the bus, from the bus to coffee shops with ear buds in, drowning out my surroundings with my own personal choice of music. I avoid awkward silences by going on my phone. I waste an obscene amount of time on social media. And I never really even thought much of this until just the other day.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
I have a crush on this boy who rides the bus with me. It started out like this: day after day, week after week I would stare at him on the bus and wish he would make eye contact with me (yikes, I know!) but then one fateful Wednesday afternoon by complete coincidence he sat down NEXT TO ME. And then proceeded to talk to me and now has every day since (!!!). More about that situation later, but the point here is this:
This man. This young man who is living in the SAME 21st century I am, is doing so without the crutch of a smart phone. I know, everyone wrinkles their nose when I say it. You’re correct- he somehow lives his life without Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. He doesn’t send 300+ snapchats a day and is somehow still living.
So THAT means that this boy and I only speak and interact during those few magical moments we share together on the bus and in between classes. We don’t snapchat or text into the late hours of night. And to be quite honest, it’s been absolutely refreshing. It makes our time together that much more meaningful.
The other day, we were listening to music together and he takes out an ear bud, and looks at me and asks, “Do you ever feel guilty for listening to music in public?” And accompanied by a long pause on my part, I answered truthfully- yes.
And why, you may ask? Well, I’ll explain it to you how cute-boy-from-the-bus put it.
When you put those beloved ear buds into your ears, you’re closing out the world. And yes, sometimes you need that and it’s useful and downright necessary sometimes. But other times, you’re doing just that- closing people out. You’re missing out on those random conversations you could have with the person sitting next to you on the bus, in between classes, or strolling down the street. You’re missing out on the sounds of LIFE in general.
So these things called ear “buds” are probably the most antisocial, anti-“BUDDY” (see what I did there?) things of them all.
My point here is this: maybe if you take your ear buds out once in a while and actually enter the world you’re living in, you’ll surprise yourself. And maybe the world will surprise you.