Odessa American, Texas, Celinda Hawkins column
Mar 03, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The other night whilst enjoying a delightful evening with my two daughters and their friends at a local eatery, all of the sudden the table became quiet. My sister and I were chatting and all of the sudden I wondered why all the 20-somethings were so quiet.
As I panned my eyes around the table, I noticed that everyone had a cell phone in hand and all were texting, tweeting or emailing.
I wondered, is that rude It's a given they sure don't think so.
Well, I'm sure that the folks on the other end of the line were waiting with bated breath to hear all about exactly what each person was doing at that moment in time. One of my friends actually ended his call and scolded the young'uns for being preoccupied with their phones.
"Why don't ya'll put down your phones and join in the conversation and visit," he said. To which I said, "Hey, you are the worst offender!"
And seriously, I suspect that some of the kiddos were actually texting each other at the table -- alas, a new way to talk about people right in front of them.
Are cell phones destroying socialization and communication While they have enhanced our ability to report things in real time and can be life savers in certain situations, I believe they have diminished our social skills.
The question is, does your cell phone control you or do you control your cell phone
Back in the day, from 1965-1990 BCP (Before Cell Phones) Folks rarely got phone calls at restaurants. If they did, the maitre d' would bring you a phone on a silver platter or tell you there was a call at the front desk. Or, if you had to make a call, you excused yourself to the payphone out front in the lobby. You made the call, then returned to the table and continued the evening. By the way, where did all the pay phones go
What did we do before cell phones
First, when we made plans, we stuck to them. If you made a lunch date with someone you were expected to stick to it. If you said you were meeting a person or a group in the lobby at noon, you did it. You did not text them and say you got hungry so you grabbed a burrito on the way and you'll meet them later. That's called standing someone up.
Folks were patient about hearing from you -- if you got a call, people did not mind waiting a while to get your reply. You may not be near a phone. Not so anymore. If you get a call or a text, tweet or an email, the reply better be immediate or all of your friends, followers and such might just think you're dead.
And we didn't have contacts -- we had phone numbers in our head. I still maintain this skill, which is strange to my kids, who believe I'm a savant with phone numbers. But not really -- it's just what we had to do.
Maybe it was easier back in the day because we used letters for the phone number exchange. In Odessa, that was FE for numbers on the west side and EM for numbers to the east. So my desk number would have been FE3-7779 for example.
We also left notes. Receiving a note gave you the jolt folks get these days when they get a text. We filled our notebooks with them, all folded in some "origami"-like fashion. How about cards and letters There's a lost art form and another one replaced by texts and emails.
And when we were at a restaurant for a birthday celebration or with a group of friends, we told stories -- another lost art form. Sure, sites like Facebook and Twitter or email are a great way to keep in touch, on where you are, where you've been or where you're going but there is something to telling a great story, with grand hand gestures or facial expressions and sound effects.
I say let's go back to being creative, making plans, sending notes and telling stories.
Maybe later. My cell phone is ringing.
Contact Celinda Hawkins on twitter @OAciti, on Facebook at OA Celinda Hawkins or call 432-333-7779.
___ (c)2013 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas) Visit the Odessa American
(Odessa, Texas) at www.oaoa.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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