Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Editor’s note: Tom Valley is on vacation. This column originally ran last May.
The other day I noticed two young girls, probably in their early teens, walking down Main St. together. ‘Together’ only in the sense that they were side-by-side. Neither was paying attention to the other as both were preoccupied talking on their cell-phones to someone else.
I couldn’t help but think of Jerry Seinfeld’s comment that the reason men wanted to control the TV remote was “not to see what was on, but to see what else is on.” I had to wonder that if each of these girls were with the ones they were talking to – instead of each other – would they ignore that person and talk on the phone to the friend they were presently with? (Their body language indicated that they took delight with whom they were talking – so that ruled out their parents being on the other end of the line.)
It seems that we are living in a society that is failing to appreciate what we have in favor of finding out what we are missing.
There’s an ad on TV that shows two guys sitting in the parking lot at what looks to be a festive tailgate-party. I know it’s a commercial but it’s eerily close to life. Oblivious to the goings-on, they are mesmerized by the technical wizardry in the palm of their hands. What should be a good time of socializing with friends has been replaced with a self-imposed, fun-stealing exile from reality. They chose an isolated existence over the nuts and bolts of being alive. Why bother going anywhere else if you’re going to restrict your universe to the nearest Radio-Shack and make-believe?