My desk sits right beside my bedroom window, which overlooks our front yard. Right across from our driveway, another street T-bones into ours. We have a two-story house, plus we’re at the highest point in our neighborhood, so I have a pretty good view of the goings-on.
Which makes for excellent spying.
Now I don’t really spy with binoculars or anything, but I do love to people-watch. So if I catch a glimpse of movement outside, I’ll pause my work and watch a neighbor unload their groceries or whatever.
(Incidentally, one of my neighbors just pulled into his driveway, and I paused my writing to spy on him.) 🙂
But earlier this week, I spied something that made me very sad.
A couple was walking down the sidewalk on the street across from me. The woman had her cell phone in her hands, texting, from all appearances. Then she stuck the phone in her back pocket. They turned around and walked back up the sidewalk.
As they reached the end of the sidewalk where they step onto the street, the man’s left hand reached out as if he wanted to take the woman’s hand. At that exact moment, her right hand went to her back pocket and pulled out her cell phone again. Soon both hands were busy tapping the screen.
And I wondered what on that phone could be so much more important than the person she was with.
Maybe it was their children who needed them to return home. Maybe.
Or maybe it was just a friend she was texting. A friend who, through the cell phone, became a third wheel on their walk.
I forgot to look for wedding rings, so I don’t know if they’re married or dating. I’m not sure which would be worse.
If they’re dating, love is in its springtime, when everything is fresh and new and special. Yet this woman didn’t want to hold her boyfriend’s hand?
Or if they’ve been married a while, they probably don’t get much time alone together to just walk and talk. Yet this woman didn’t want to hold the hand of the man who has committed his life to her?
It’s a good reminder to me. I don’t have a smartphone, actually. But I have a computer. Writing (and everything that entails) keeps me glued to the screen a lot.
But then there’s social media. I tell myself I’m keeping up with friends I don’t see much. In reality, I end up wasting an exorbitant amount of time looking at mindless stuff I’ll forget within an hour.
I live with my four favorite people in the whole world–my parents and two sisters. The people I love most. The ones who love me most. Honestly, what on this device could possibly be so important that I would rather interact with it than with my family?
I don’t want to be oblivious when those I love hold out their hands–literally or figuratively–because they want to get closer to me.