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    Tuesday's Thoughts From The Circuit Of A Cell Phone

    Birds sang and sent their voices echoing through the woods. Wings fluttered. A brook babbled. Two deer looked up and then stooped to eat more grass. The canopy of leaves blocked the bright sun and cast a shadow over the trail. It was hot, but even more so humid. My shirt, especially beneath my backpack, was drenched. The excessive heat slowly eroded my attempt to find some kind of mindful serenity. In no way was it helping quiet the chatter in my mind. However, there were a couple of other things that cracked that effort toward peacefulness.
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    “I’ve got no connection,” a man in a yellow shirt informed his friend. “You got anything?”
    “Nothing,” his friend answered. “How about you, Jen?”
    “Spotty at best.”
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    Ah yes, the cell phone and that inevitable need to be connected. Forget about the scenery that surrounded this group of adults because that little black box is what consumed their attention. And were the kids buying into this trek through the woods? Not a chance. The youngest manifested her disdain with silence sealing her lips and apathy glazing her eyes. Can you guess what happened when we made it back to the car? If you chose check her phone, then by gosh, you win the prize.
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    What is it with this need to be connected to a signal every single moment of every single day? It was the first thing the kids checked as soon as we made it to the cabin. “I thought you said the connection wasn’t going to be good,” the youngest said. “In fact it’s great.” She immediately ran into her room, hopped onto the bed and tapped her phone.
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    It’s easy to spot those who have an insatiable need to be connected. Just look around and notice those who are glued to their screens as they tromp down the sidewalk, sit in a restaurant or clutch their cup in a coffee shop. There’s the mindless scrolling while at work or out with a group of friends. Doesn’t anyone want to simply disconnect and engage in their surroundings? Or maybe crack open a book and connect with their imagination?
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    There are days when I shut mine off and tuck it away. It drives my wife, mom and friends a little crazy. The gist of their comments suggests, “What if I need to get ahold of you?” I kind of get their point, but maybe I don’t want to be found. I figured humanity has survived millennia without phones. Never had a cell when I was a kid and I turned out fine. At least I think I did.
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    When I turn that gadget off I happily allow myself to fall off the grid and disconnect from the drama of social media and the endless streams of froth filled opinions. I’ve even done it for longer lengths of time when travelling abroad. It only takes a couple of days to realize the negativity I’m consistently bombarded with and better yet, I’ve noticed my general disposition becomes more positive.
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    Now try telling this to the kids and I bet you’re greeted with that inevitable blank stare of disbelief. During this trip, I so wanted everyone to simply shut their phones and bask in the moment. In the end I kept my mouth shut out of fear of a possible mutiny and being forced to walk a makeshift plank crudely secured to the cabin’s deck.
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    I recently came across some interesting cell phone statistics. Did you know that ninety-one percent of adult mobile phone users keep their device within arms reach twenty four hours a day. Or that ninety percent of all text messages are read within three minutes. It goes to show how connected people are to their phones. Is this a good or bad thing? I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
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    I also feel these stats in some way show the need for immediate feedback, instant gratification and in turn a growing lack of patience. One such example is the speed at which information can be shared, especially if it’s a picture or a video clip.
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    In previous writings I’ve discussed my stance on the need to wear masks and practice social distancing. But, what of the people who chose not to partake in these measures. There are those who have been caught on video going ballistic at the mere suggestion that they wear a mask. These cringe worthy images have been plastered across the Internet and have even caused some to lose their jobs.
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    I feel the moral gleaned from these situations is that we should all learn to be mindful of our behavior. Even more so when we enter the public realm. We should be striving to give respect to each other and, in turn, promoting the common good of all. And by doing this we can subsequently find the path to better ourselves. In the end you never know who’s watching or possibly filming you. And we never know the type of influences and memories our actions can have on someone. Then again shutting off your phone, disconnecting from the matrix, even for a few hours, and engaging in the surrounding environment just might elevate your mood, enlighten your behavior and ultimately provide you a better mental outlook.
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    I still believe that the majority wants to be in this together, let’s not be too close together while we’re all in it. 

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