Surely, you know it’s a disease. Of what proportions: unknown, as yet.

Will it show up in the genes of the next generation – and to what extent?

Will human fingers mutate? – Also, unknown. Some addictions, we know, have a tendency towards heredity. So many words have been written, so many articles, columns, books, discussions, cartoons on the societal effect of the smartphone. When do you not use it?

 For me, the impact clicked at the iconic over-the-top cartoon showing a car with JUST MARRIED  blazoned  all over it,  the bride, still dressed in her flowing gown – the groom in his groomsman’s attire, both leaning on the front car bumper as close to each other as strawberries and whipped cream, with nary a sign of recognition of each other – both busy with their eyes lowered as they texted – (to each other ???)

 Needless to say, as with most impactful technological innovations, there is the good and the bad. How wonderful to be able to communicate at an airport, to have the GPS lady lead you through mazes of unfamiliar miles to your destination, to be able to give a heads up text to your significant other who is in an important meeting that can’t be interrupted, reporting  that you won’t be there on time because of a flat tire, and the music, and the endless answers to questions about pure trivia  from google, (who played the lead in a 1972 movie?) and the myriad of “alerts,” and well – you know I could fill pages with this. 

 But the dislocated ability to confront people eye to eye says something important about relationships as does the misguided need to respond to every signal.  Phone rings – why must it be answered immediately – if you are not home – if it’s your sister and you are lunching with a friend, or at a dinner party table? Yes – it’s good for emergencies, but not every “hello, how’re you doing?” is an emergency. And then, when you whip out pictures of your kids or  grandkids or “greats”, about whom most of your surrounding companions care not a whit – is that an act of cluelessness or narcissism? The sheer discourtesy of being inattentive to your immediate surroundings speaks to misplaced priorities.

 Personally, I am offended when people place their phones in plain sight in social situations – unless they declare some kind of expectation of an emergency. Perhaps it’s my age, but it is not hard to remember a time when folks called on land phones and left messages when you weren’t home. They weren’t expecting an instantly gratifying response.

 Many colleges have done serious research on the effects of slavishness to smartphones on relationships. I’ve checked out several and learned of a predisposition towards feelings of rejections on the part of romantic partners when phones are used excessively. Google “smartphones and relationships,”

You’ll be amazed at the abundance of scholarly interest in this.

 Yes yes — times are a-changing —  but fast.

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