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Ron Cruger
The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
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       You can see them in the restaurant. Two couples. Men on one side of the table, women on the other. Each is holding a smart phone. Each is being shown the otherís device. They are all talking at the same time. One woman is showing the other photos of her grandchild on the smart phone. One man is showing the other the latest weather forecast. The other man is showing the latest Seattle Mariner baseball score. The four are equally excited and very proud of their particular smart phone. The talk of their smart phones would continue for the next half hour.
       The mall up the freeway is filled with teenagers walking in twos, threes and fours. Each one holding their smart phone in their left hand. Each set of eyes glued to the small screen as they walk. Each teen hoping on hope that someone they know will be sending them a text message. Each incoming message a validation of their importance.
       In the fast food restaurant two middle aged couples are sitting at separate tables. On the table closest to the counter the man and woman are eating cheeseburgers. Their eyes are hard focused on the smart phone placed between them. They donít speak with each other. Theyíre both reading the facsimile of the front page of their local newspaper. At the other table, the man is pointing to the small screen, telling his wife about the latest news that has just been reported, that the giant forest fire in California is now 40% contained.
       In his high school history classroom the young manís eyes are concentrating on the small screen of the smart phone hidden under his history book away from his teacherís eyes. Heís reading the text messages which are coming to him from classmates. So far today heís received and sent sixty eight text messages. Heís happy because sixty to seventy text messages each day proves that he remains in the popular group in his school.
       On a downtown street, itís lunch time and the majority of the men and women are either heading back to work or walking towards the local bistro on the side street. All are walking with their devices in their left hands, eyes converging on the small screen. Some waiting for text messages from wives, others from husbands. Some are anticipating contact from girl friends, others regarding golf dates, some from their children. Others with no particular sender in mind, just want desperately to receive some kind of message to prove their esteem. To receive a message or two is far more important to them than these people will admit.
       The check out lines at stores and markets are filled with customers holding their cell phones to their ears, biding time until they reach the registers. The thought of standing there, pushing their carts, without cell phone contact, drives them to call someone. ďHi, Janet, how are you, Iím in line at Costco, what are you doing?Ē
       Standing in line is no longer a time to look around and observe or speak to the person in line ahead or behind you. Evidently the few minutes in line are best filled with an innocuous, unobjectionable telephone call to someone, almost anyone. Itís as though the silence would cause psychic damage.
       A walk down any street will illustrate the ubiquitousness of the smart phone. The crowds come, left hand cradling the phone, eyes on the screen. They come as an army. One following another, seemingly all carrying the miracle device. Name for me another invention so widely and enjoyably used.
       And so, the smart phones continue to change society. The miracle of their almost immediate contact with weather, sports, news, personalities, games and personal communication has a charm that has taken over the actions and thoughts of millions around the world.
       They have become essential in portions of business and seemingly essential in the lives of teenagers, who average seventy text messages a day.
       The days of quiet observation and sociable courtesy have been replaced by text messages and telephone calls. It is now common to listen to the babble of rudeness as people converse as they wait in their doctorís offices or walk the streets or dine. Date night has blended with incoming and outgoing text messages.
       The ubiquity of smart phones has been proven around the world. They have changed the way we live as surely as television, the automobile, radio and the computer. But, perhaps the smart phone is on its way to change our lifestyles more than any other of the great inventions. The next time youíre walking down the street and you see someone talking when nobody is there beside him, pay homage to the Steve Jobs of the world, the men and women who brought us one of the most powerful inventions of all time Ė The smart phone. That little rectangle that everyone is carrying and captivated by.
It changed the world
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