… on a phone stack inspired ramble

The Phone Stack

Yesterday we – Gabe, Sam, Disney-Princess-Avery, and I – headed over to Freeport-Maine-Home-of-LLBean-and-many-other-outlet-stores.

And in between making Sam try on shorts, awaiting our approval, Avery’s search for the perfect tote bag, and Gabe lobbying for as many sneakers as he could get away with at the Nike outlet, we got hungry. And so we headed over to this cool old tavern for lunch.

And that’s when someone suggested a phone stack and we all put our phones in the middle.

Mac used to make us phone stack, a way to ensure none of us were checking our phones/social media stuff during a meal. So we all mentally toasted Mac’s controlling tendencies (and I’m sure she could feel us toasting them, and maybe even thought we were doing it wrong (because she is that controlling according to her brothers)).

When the kids were little, I remember Grampa being in awe as personal computers invaded the household (“Kids ‘ill never learn a Goddamn thing with those in the house!”). I also remember that he considered a calculator to be a ‘cheating machine’. But as cell phones became computers in and of themselves, things got even worse.

“Their brains were going to rot right out of their heads!”, he’d lament accusatorially – just dumbfounded that we didn’t seem as alarmed as he did. He so desperately wanted to buy them a minibike, considering this a far safer for their brains.

Me? I saw them crashing into a tree, followed by certain death… most likely due to a head injury.

So there you go.

Whether via technology or motor sports, the resulting fear is the same: Broken brains.

But with all that fear early on… that the on-line world would be its own powerful disconnecting force, luring people toward losing their ability to speak with or talk with or be with other human beings.

Bad, bad, bad. Scary, scary, scary.

But what our tablets and computers and social media platforms have made possible remains, to me, incredible.

No… not the technology stuff.

The human stuff.

I don’t mean the big, broad swaths of goodness that can be wrought via social media  –  though, don’t get me wrong, the big broad good stuff like fundraising and awareness-raising and bringing folks together for local and global causes can reach the level of awesome (who didn’t love how people used social media to bring tens of thousands of people together to help a little boy become Batkid for a day?)

I’m talking about the personal stuff, the relationship stuff. The very stuff we feared would go away, or become somehow lessened, by this seemingly unavoidable technology tsunami.

I am amazed, and humbled, and sometimes sit in wonder at what we can do now.

Interacting and being with and helping each other in deep and meaningful ways – one on one, or few on few – when we are physically far away from each other (or have never met in person).

Even the seemingly silly, and the wholly impractical, can result in profound meaning and mattering…

Playing Words With Friends…

with a loved one sitting in a chair, receiving chemotherapy, in a state far from my own.

Posting goofy pics on Instagram…

knowing a grieving friend is searching for a reason (or a few) to smile.

Keeping up with a Facebook message group created, on a whim, years ago …

because nearly snorting coffee or wine out ones nose on a regular basis is spiritually invaluable, as is coming together – en force – when one of us, or another human we know, needs a lift and a friend (or a few).

New connections ignited.

Old connections tended to.

Lost connections rekindled.

Despite all of the prognostications of doom and gloom and ‘are we readys’ and ‘this time humanity really is doomed’, we have – in a relatively short time, and as we humans tend to do – found even more ways to connect with each other.

It’s kind of like we’re programmed for it, isn’t it?

Turns out the big decisions in the digital realm are much the same as they are in the physical one.

What do we want to do with what we are given?

What types of humans do we want to be?

As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment <3