We may have waited all year for a vacation or it may just be a business trip. We still have to pack. We check off each item on the self-edited, computer generated list and then check everything again. The last things we pack are our electronic gadgets and all of their necessary gizmos.
Almost gone are the days of being satisfied with a good, hold it in your hands, smell the pages, dog-eared, hard bound or paperback book. A single book could certainly last for the duration of most flights. But we have become a society of people with very short attention spans. We need choices and distractions.
So we cart all of our “necessary” apparatus through the maze of people and machines that make up airport security, unpacking them and repacking them while trying to put shoes, belts and other personal items back on. Finally finding the gate we hunt for a chair, or if nimble enough, a spot on the floor near a charger plug-in. We go into a zone until the flight is announced and then fight the wave of other arms and fingers all reaching for cords that look just like ours.
On the plane, we stow our carry on, but not before removing our laptop, iPad or phone or maybe all three. We rush to check one last time for emails, phone calls, texts, game bonuses and Facebook updates before the dreaded, overhead announcement to power off our devices. Airplane mode offers little relief to those who would rather be in the dentist’s chair than go without the internet.
We’ve wrapped ourselves in cocoons of earbuds and headphones where we can pretend no one else exists. Verbal communication with other humans is all but a lost art, a relic, now dusty on our mental shelves.
Let’s break free of the apparatuses that have excluded us from the joy of spending time with each other. If they are willing, talk to your airplane neighbor. You make a new friend or touch a heart, in need of a gentle listening ear. Who knows, you may be blessed at the same time.
Post Script: And yes, I do see the irony in the fact that you are reading this post via one of the aforementioned contraptions, but at least I wrote the draft by hand and in cursive. Ah, yes, another dinosaur of days gone by.