You shouldn’t be surprised, discouraged maybe, but not surprised. No one goes anywhere without packing at least one wireless device, millions of us have two or more. And in case cell phones aren’t distracting enough, honk honk, here comes the tablet.
Don’t get me wrong, I like having a wireless phone. I’d probably like it even more if I knew how to use the damn thing. I mean, it comes with a whopping 206-page User Guide — the approximate length of a physics textbook. By the time I get this monstrosity figured out, the technology will be obsolete and faintly nostalgic.
Much like live, face-to-face conversation. Have you tried to have one with a smartphone user? It’s virtually impossible. Throughout the entire conversation, their eyes are riveted to the phone. Their fingers tap away, zooming from emails to the internet to Facebook to Twitter to texting. You, poof, are invisible. Go ahead, wave your arms. Snap your fingers. Hello? Remember me?
There’s something unsettling about coming in second to a phone. I’ve yet to go head to head with a tablet, but I imagine the results are the same. If not worse.
You know, I like to think of myself as a witty, engaging conversationalist. I like to, but I can’t. Not when an inanimate object is better at capturing and holding another person’s attention. As a test, I quietly vamoosed in the middle of my last ‘conversation’ with a smartphone addict and it took the guy twenty minutes to realize I’d left. My self-esteem has yet to recover.
When tablets start proliferating, showing up in coffee shops and restaurants and the gym, well, I figure the battle is lost. I may be in living color and 3D, but so what? I’m not backlit, my memory is limited, no thousands of apps, no bells, and no whistles. What chance do I have?
If I’m lucky, I’ll get the same rapt attention as a Wal-Mart greeter.
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