I recently had a doctor’s appointment and was amazed at what I saw. I’ve seen this doctor for several years but have never noticed this occurring at previous visits. The waiting room is quite large with approximately 30 chairs against the walls, circling the room and two, very comfy sofas in the center. Randomly, in between the chairs are small tables holding a variety of magazines – all with women, parent, and kid-related topics.
I always choose a seat against the far wall so that I can see everyone who comes and goes. I always like seeing the pregnant women coming in with their baby daddies. It’s fun to see how nervous the men are. As I sat down in my regular seat, I made my usual room scan to check out the other waiting patients. As I did this, I noticed that no one – NO ONE – was looking at any of the magazines. They were all looking at their smart phones. Their phones were up, in their faces – thumbs scrolling whatever page they were viewing. From what I could tell, most everyone was looking at Facebook or some other social media site.
I’m sure I am just as guilty at times as the folks I’m describing. However, I love magazines! I love everything about them – the colorful pages, the way they feel in my hands, the smell of the paper; but I also feel that way about books. I just hate to think that people are so caught up in the lives of others that they would neglect reading even a simple magazine article. I’m not sure it really matters what Betsy Jo had for dinner or what TV show someone’s grandma recorded. What I find terribly ironic is the app Goodreads. It’s an app that ties to your Facebook account that allows you to post what books you’re currently reading and how you rate them. So your Facebook friends can literally read about what books you’re actually reading – electronically of course, but still reading.
Even though I do have some electronic books, I still like to consider myself old fashioned when it comes to books and reading. Yes, I am currently writing this blog post, which I guess makes me a contributor to the some of the issue. However, I’d like to place blogs in a different category far away from minute-by-minute coverage of social media feeds. At least people who read blogs are actually reading content that equals more than 140 characters. I actually like to feel the book in my hand and the pages beneath my fingers. I desperately want to hear the sound of each page turning.
My summers as a kid on a farm were spent with my nose in a book after all of my chores were done. And after my papa quit farming and gardening, that’s all I ever did – READ. I read anything I could get my hands on. I would completely zone out when I was reading. If my mother was trying to get my attention, she would usually have to physically take the book out of my hand to get me to recognize her. As a child, I read every Nancy Drew mystery book published. Later, while in high school, I was sucked into the “Blossom Valley High” teen romance novels. You could find them at the Walmart in the next town, and my friends and I made sure we would buy different books so we could share and save money. I’m sure some would think we wasted time reading such dribble, but is time reading ever wasted?
As Michael and I consider all of our “house rules” for the children in our pending adoption, we have decided to enact “Mute Mondays”. It’s one night each week where TV and electronic devices are prohibited. We either read, do puzzles, or craft something. Whatever we choose to do, we must be in the same room having a conversation while we’re doing our activities. We don’t have children in the house yet, but we’ve already started the practice; and I believe it’s going quite well. It’s very relaxing, and I seem to sleep better on those nights.
Therefore, I’m going to challenge each of you to choose some time out of your crazy weeks to put down your electronic devices and to pick up something to read or to make something. Be creative! Try to imagine your lives unplugged and relaxed.