In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams described the human race as “so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a neat idea.” One could replace the digital watches in Adams’ dismissal with smart phones and the statement would be as true as ever.
We take our kids to the Heart of the Beast’s May Day parade every year, and even though we arrive early and wait patiently on our blanket, there is always someone who insists on standing right in front of the kids. You’d think if anyone should be allowed to watch a parade, it should be a couple of children. And the people standing in front of the children are invariably filming the parade on their phones — It must be the most digitally documented event in the history of the world, with all the little screens facing Bloomington Avenue.
This past year the two women standing directly in front of the kids were each panning their little screens across until they reached each other and were, less than a foot apart, each pointing their phone directly at the other. Neither was embarrassed or even alarmed. They both just slowly paned back the other way.
We think about this obsessive use of smart phones every time we go to a concert. Some folks get all dressed up, buy tickets or pay a cover, and then spend the evening staring at a screen. Anyway, it seems to be making them happy, although Douglas Adams would probably disagree.