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David Bentley

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It was Friday night, and the café was hopping. A teenaged couple ate burgers and fries while sitting side by side and holding hands. A sheet of paper could not fit between them, and their excellent hand-mouth coordination made me wonder which one was ambidextrous. Two other couples wrestled with toddlers more interested in ketchup bottles than food. Three middle-aged couples apparently had a night out sans children. Four other single males ate at the counter while watching TV. Then in walked the three amigos.

 

Definitely not athletes, these college guys were dressed casually. Two were tall and thin with tight fitting jeans and pullover shirts. The third was not quite as tall and quite a bit broader. His jeans were loose, and he wore a t-shirt with an unbuttoned over shirt. They ordered two bacon burgers and a double cheeseburger along with drinks and fries.

As soon as their orders had been placed, three smart phones appeared. The only other words spoken by them for the next 40 minutes were a request to the waitress for an outlet to recharge one phone, and a unison response of "separate" when the waitress asked if their checks were separate or together. Silently, they ate alone together while subjecting themselves to text neck and repetitive thumb trauma. Even when they stood at the cash register, presenting plastic for payment, all three were checking their phones and texting. Only when they exited into the darkness of night did they put their phones away.

I watched through the window as they walked down the street. I wondered about the adventures ahead for them. Would they listen to music and drink alone together? Would they find three dream dates equally entranced by their own smart phones? Would they text while dancing? Would all six of them sit together, silently texting friends not present? Would any of them realize that none of them were present either? Back at my apartment, the aroma of my birthday bouquet greeted me. It was sent by a social networking "friend" I’ve never actually met. Suddenly, the three amigos didn’t seem quite so odd.

Do you ever judge others while ignoring your own actions?

How does technological addiction play itself out in your life?

Are you ever alone together or together alone?

What changes do you need to make today?

About David Bentley

Avatar_DavidBentleyDavid Bentley, M.Ed., is an avid observer of people, places and events. He uses his storytelling and questioning skills to help himself and others think outside the box in an ever-changing world.

Comments about his column can be sent to [email protected]

© 2013 David Bentley

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