Saturday, December 03, 2011

Was any of this going on at your Thanksgiving gathering?

(Today's "Pearls Before Swine," by Stephan Pastis.
Obtained from Yahoo! Comics.)
I was complaining just yesterday that I have the attention span of a gnat. But, as my mother used to say, there's more truth than poetry in this comic: By comparison to our kids, who are nearly always with gadget-in-hand, we are profiles in concentration.

The question is, do we get angry about it? Or do we live with it?

I admit: I tried getting angry about it. I achieved sullen compliance some of the time. But when people are fuming at one another the conversational flow is decreased, not increased.

So I've joined the live with it group. The devices become an aid to conversation -- fact-checking your assertion that so-and-so was in that movie, answering the question about who won the MVP Award in 2007, reassuring someone else that flights out of O'Hare are still 'on time' (as 'on time' as they ever get, anyway).

Armed with my wife's iPad (because it has a screen much bigger than the kids' smart phones), I can even play along.

However: All connected devices were banned from the killer Scrabble game that followed Thanksgiving 1 this year. Oldest Son pulled out his phone during the course of the game, but only to put the timer feature on -- he left it on the table so all could see it (and, hopefully, from his point of view, be intimidated by it). Of course he said he put the phone out only because he was unhappy with the performance of the game-supplied egg timer that was supposed to measure out turns....

Are you with the 'getting mad about it' group? Or are you willing to live with these devices, even at family gatherings? Are you sneaking a look at this post right now, underneath the dining room table?

1 comment:

Dave said...

My 70 year old cousin just got one - resistance if futile.

That said, they are a problem with lulls in conversation. People, me included, will pull them out and "check" whatever it is people check.

You know you have a real lull when all four people you are with are looking at their phones.

Maybe they tell us that we aren't as fascinating as we think we are.