Given the title of the post, I have two images to show. One is directly related to the title of the post, and the second image is related to what I actually want to talk about in this post. So, here we go.
This is a lamp with the lampshade as Professor Oak’s face. In the early Pokemon video games, if you tried to use an item where it couldn’t be used (e.g. trying to use a fishing rod when not at the water’s edge), Professor Oak would tell you, “This isn’t the time to use that!” This therefore became a meme in joking that he had a drone or a bug in every item that immediately alerted him if you used it where it should not be used!
The real reason for the post is the next image.
This also is relevant to the post that I wrote a few days ago. The cartoon shows a Thanksgiving dinner where everyone is on a smartphone, MP3 player, or tablet. It strongly reminds me of the argument I made about GrubHub’s ad: “Everything great about eating, combined with everything great about not talking to people.”
Yes, technology is a wonderful thing. But the dinner table is definitely one place where it should NOT be used. If you are with family, dinner is a wonderful time to talk about your days, discuss things, and just be together. You can do all of those without being tethered to your technology.
In fact, last winter break when I was in Lincoln, my parents instituted a few dinners that were “No-Phone Dinners.” Given that I do not ordinarily use my phone at meals with others anyway, this was not a problem for me, but it seemed difficult for my siblings. It is too easy to get carried away with technology and ignore the world around you. As I have said before, more connections sometimes weakens each of those connections.
When my parents then came to Chicago, I asked them to continue the No-Phone Meals, especially since I rarely get to see them. Their presence is a treat that I will not taint by plugging away on my phone while eating with them.
There is a quasi-specific dinner table where I have seen particularly-problematic usage of phones. When I have gone to Northwestern Hillel for dinner, there is often at least one person around me that uses a phone during dinner. I realize that our Hillel has no specific policy about שבת (Shabbat) observance while in the building, but I have two comments about that. (a) For the same reason as above, if you are on your phone at the table, you are not trying to connect legitimately to the people around you. (b) It has an aura of impropriety to those who may be more observant.
Though I am certainly not שומר שבת, I feel that it is wrong to use technology (e.g. cell phones) in synagogues and Hillel buildings during שבת except in the case of an emergency. Granted, two years ago when I was waiting for Mom and Dad (and Casey) to meet me at Hillel for the beginning of the Nebraska/Northwestern football weekend, I was discreetly (i.e. ducking off into a corner) checking my phone to check for text and/or voice messages! Thankfully, this was long after services had ended.
With respect to the dinner table and phones, there are Rowan’s words echoed: “There is a time and a place for everything. But not now.” I know that tomorrow, when I am in Milwaukee, my phone will be up in the bedroom, and at the dinner table, I will have empty pockets and empty hands. I just want to relax, chat with my cousins, and enjoy a bountiful feast!
Today is the three-hundred and thirtieth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes forty-seven weeks and one day.