I stood in line, browsing the menu at the university restaurant I frequent. I’m not sure why I bother reading it; perhaps it’s to trick myself into ordering a new dish, but I know by the time I reach the cashier, the huevos rancheros will once again have won my heart.
As I glanced around, taking in the sights and sounds of a busy new semester, my eyes fell upon two people engaged in what appeared to be a spirited debate. Since my curiosity knows few limitations in public spaces, I studied them for a minute, wondering what topic they could be discussing with such passion at 10:30 on a Monday morning.
I admire when people are passionate in conversation. When it is evident that there is emotion behind their words, and they are not speaking just for the sake of speaking, but rather to be heard.
It made me think of the last time I truly had an engaging conversation, without thoughts dancing in the back of my mind, or the distraction of that little glowing electronic thing that I can never seem to rid myself of.
I am especially guilty of it with those I’m most comfortable with. Perhaps it is a habit that we’re all getting a little too used to, but more and more I catch myself scrolling through Instagram as I mutter out “uh huh”, while a family member attempts the now outdated act of speaking to someone’s face.
Isn’t it a shame? Technology, with all of it’s powers, seems to be simultaneously connecting us and tearing us apart. While I’m more than delighted to accept a friend request from someone I haven’t seen or spoken with in ten years (alright, maybe delighted is a bit strong of a word), I also appear to deem it more important to see what they had for lunch today than look directly at my mother while she tells me about her day.
So the next time another human attempts the ancient art of eye contact, I will put down my phone, silence the back of my mind, and be ever present in the conversation.
Have a wonderful week,