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Constant phone usage cuts down interaction

Ryan Price can be contacted at ryan.price@drake.edu

Please excuse me for laughing at the most common rude behavior of our generation, also known as “Generation Y.”

It happens often and instinctively. In the middle of conversations with our living, breathing friends, we say, “Hey you. Yeah, ‘friend.’ You really aren’t that important to me.”

For example, the other day while chatting with me, Katie pulled a New York Times out of her pocket and zoned in on it.

Later that day I saw Shawn sitting with real friends in Hubbell, then sit back, pull out an envelope, write a quick letter to his more interesting, more important friend, seal it, stamp it and send it.

I was so confused.

And then I saw Blake, who was standing amidst a laughing circle of friends after class in Meredith Hall. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Blake pulled a small television from his pocket to catch up on a few minutes of ESPN.

In the middle of class the other day, I noticed Erica infuriating birds at each other while the professor presented a very interesting lecture.

Well, I don’t actually know how to play “Angry Birds,” but I do know that these scenarios are all utterly silly when put this way.

Why would we shun the idea of cutting conversation cold-turkey to read a news article or to write a letter to another friend, but it’s alright if it’s on a small little screen?

Since when do cell phones give us an excuse to violate social taboo after social taboo?

No one else seems to believe it, but isn’t there a hint of selfishness, a tidbit of impoliteness and a whole lot of gall in ignoring our present friends for our virtual ones?

As technology further develops and virtual communication becomes even quicker and easier – if that’s possible – we’ll have to exercise more self-control to remember the importance of the here, the now and what’s around us.

“Hahaha” or even “Bahahaha” in a text message never feels as good as a real life laugh-until-you-buckle-over chuckle.

“Lol” barely ever means you laughed out loud.

Writing “:-)” means you’re not actually happy, you just wish you were; and “;-)” is just creepy.

But if you actually smile at someone, or better yet, if you actually wink at that good-lookin’ fella or gal then you might make some more progress.

So let’s put away the newspapers, the letters, the envelopes and the ESPN until we’re alone.

We can even tranquilize the angry birds.

And then we can remind each other that we really matter, and that’s the real test of friendship.

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