Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reluctant new member of the bent-neck club

When I started thinking about this post, I intended to title it, “Look at all the bent necks”.  Then a couple of weeks ago I RELUCTANTLY upgraded my trusty 3G cell phone for a smartphone. Thus, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the bent-neck club, and I hope I won’t need a chiropractor as a result while I try to figure out how the #&^!@#$ thing works. Perhaps you can tell where this post is going . . .

I work in downtown Pittsburgh, in the USX tower. Each day I walk several blocks to and from my van, and ride the elevators to my office all the way on the 43rd floor. I see thin white wires dangling from so many people’s ears nowadays. In well over 80% of the cases, necks of the aforementioned people are bent, eyes fixed on snazzy devices in their hands, thumbs a blur of frantic movement. Head-mounted radar must come as standard equipment with a smartphone upgrade. It’s a wonder no one trips or crashes into someone else suffering from the same bent-neck syndrome. I’m still waiting for a call to have my radar installed.

Call me old-fashioned. Okay, I am old-fashioned. Being 54 years-old allows for some cynicism. Stepping into an elevator or through a door, what happened to the eye contact I remember, the polite nod, perhaps a smile and even a “hi” or “good morning”?  Now, ears are plugged, necks are bent, heads and eyes down, and thumbs moving.

Okay, I realize Pittsburgh is a small city. Maybe the politeness I remember never existed in places like New York or Philadelphia. But it existed here at one time. I remember it. Not everyone acknowledged me, but some would nod or smile. Some would say ‘hi”. I remember that.     

Social media has allowed us to stay connected with our closest friends and know their business on a daily . . . umm . . . hourly basis. What about those outside our circles, though, the people we pass every day or share an elevator with for a couple of minutes? I remember a time when there was eye contact. Maybe there was a nod or a smile, too. Sometime we even chatted for a bit. I remember . . .      


  1. Great minds must think alike. I was just talking with a co-worker about this very thing today. Let's bring back some old-fashioned manners. Thank you for the wonderful post!

  2. Between the expense and the annoyance of these phones, I refuse to get one. I only want a phone for two things: to make or receive a call.

    People bemoaned the loss of writing letters by hand. Now, we're losing the ability to converse and make eye contact with other human beings. Sad.