Documentia Epidemic!!

cell phonesYikes!

Are you at risk?? Here’s the description:

“You can help prevent documentia – an epidemic that sees millions of people around the world taking photos and making videos of things rather than truly experiencing the moment. This illness compels them to snap shots of restaurant meals before tucking in to enjoy the chef’s creations. They feel the urge to film birthday cakes instead of simply watching the candle flames go out in a puff. They tweet about being at parties instead of truly interacting with the other people present. At its most debilitating, this illness makes people think they can’t sit down at a dinner table without checking their phones every couple of minutes. Entire families are at risk of this affliction…”

(Philip Solman and Debbra Mikaelsen, Publisher/Editor Edible Vancouver Magazine)

Yes, this is tongue-in-cheek, and because the writers care passionately about food (and families) they go on to encourage their readers to turn off their phones during meals. I worry that our electronic devices are creating an even worse epidemic, a disease which causes us to completely lose our ability to make polite conversation. I’m not sure what I’d call this affliction (small-talkitis?) but I could see the symptoms of it as I stepped onto the gondola to head back down Grouse Mountain on a recent May morning. grouse_mountain_gondolaAs I looked around I noticed that all my fellow passengers had their heads down, staring at their devices. The tram was dead silent despite the beautiful weather, the breathtaking view, the magnificent location. And then, suddenly, I overheard a conversation coming from a far corner of the tram. It was music to my ears. Two young people were discussing their morning hike, and from my blatant eavesdropping I could tell that they hadn’t known each other prior to that morning. I smiled to hear the connection they were making during the short trip down the mountain and hope that this skill isn’t a lost art, wiped out by the cousin of documentia illness.

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4 thoughts on “Documentia Epidemic!!

  1. You are so right Shelley! I talk about this in the sociology class I am now teaching (in an activity on how technology changes our culture). This is what some of my students have said. One young woman tells me she is sometimes out to dinner with her friends and they actually text each other there at the table, rather than speak directly. Another student tells me that when he and his friends go out to dinner, everyone has to put their cell phones in the center of the table. If they don’t, they won’t be able to resist the urge to check messages and text. The first person to cave and pick up their phone has to pay for everyone. Finally, I have a confession. I admit that when on vacation and about to dine in that fantastic vegan restaurant I mentioned in a previous comment, I have, in fact, photographed my meal. I’m so ashamed!

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