“Here’s your change.” “Paper or plastic?” “Credit or debit?” “You want ketchup with that?”
I don’t want a straw. I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don’t want to give that up.
Thanks to John Fagliano for pointing out this scene from the 2001 animated movie, Waking Life. I wonder what it would take to establish a cellphone moratorium in public places just for a day. Gosh. I wonder what we would do if there was nothing to do but look at each other? I bet there would be much to learn from such an experience.
I must say, I know the comfort of feeling vulnerable in line or a waiting area full of strangers and remembering I have my cellphone and I can bury my attention there and, for all intents and purposes, leave the room without leaving it. It’s a palpable comfort; I can feel it right now just thinking about it. I may not even know what I’m going to look at on my phone, but that doesn’t matter. Just lock into my screen and “Bye bye everybody!”
“I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me.” Surely this is what we all want; it’s what we were made for. We were made for God and for each other. What else is there? But if this is so integral to our purpose and meaning in life, why is it so hard to get there? Why do we reach for private securities?
Fear we won’t know what to say. Fear we’ll look foolish. Fear we won’t be accepted. Fear that others will find out the “truth” about us. (And what is the truth about us? Whatever it is we don’t want anyone else to know.) It’s why Moses kept a veil over his face long after the brightness it was supposed to protect the people from had faded away. The veil became his hiding place — his comfort — his cellphone, if you will.
“I want to see you. I want you to see me.” Those are pretty scary words for anybody no matter how secure or how confident they are. Yes, we want this, but are we willing to shut off our comforts and lose our veils in order to have it? The only way we can truly do this is to trust the Spirit of the Lord within us. There’s no need to hide with the Lord inside. Who knows, we may not even know He’s there until the veil comes off.
I think the cellphone has become a veil — a hiding place — a personal hiding place we can carry around with us. Maybe we should try to go out without it sometime just to see what might happen.
Your cellphone; don’t leave home without it. On second thought, maybe you should.