Was I in the Moment?

Checking the PhoneLast weekend, we went to a Dave Matthews Band concert. After chatting with my husband in the car (ok, reading on my iPhone), we headed to the venue, discovering a long line of people waiting to get in.

I do what I always do when I’m bored. I pulled out my phone to check email and twitter.

“Do you have to do that right now?” he asked. “Is it that important?”

I was stunned.

David never questions my connecting, never challenges how much time I spend online. So this really threw me.

Then I did what I always do when I don’t know what to say. I got quiet and pouted. (Ok, I know that’s rather childish, but my excuse is that it always gives me time to think about my anger, frustration, and response.)

Think about I did. All through the concert, falling asleep later, and the next day. I wanted to understand the tension.

For me, checking tweets was simply a way to pass the time. I was bored standing in line. For David, though, it was a disconnect, a separation. Even if we had nothing to say to one another, he felt I should have been in the moment.

I mean do I really want to do this? What are the guidelines for rude these days?

Am I part of the check-in culture, or am I now so bored with life, I can’t stand in line at a concert without reading my tweets? Or is it fueling the  “seeking”?

The recent New York Times article about kids being “wired for distraction” was met with much –is defensive anger too strong a statement? And I understand. We know social media will help our kids learn and connect in valuable, essential ways. But I also wonder about balance–for the kids and for myself.

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has a great book out: Focus. He says it’s “about finding simplicity in this Age of Distraction.”  My goal for the next few months will be to find that balance–or at least make sure I am aware of my actions.

Because I know I’ll do this:

For humans, this desire to search is not just about fulfilling our physical needs. Panksepp says that humans can get just as excited about abstract rewards as tangible ones. He says that when we get thrilled about the world of ideas, about making intellectual connections, about divining meaning, it is the seeking circuits that are firing.

But I don’t want to be like this:

The problem, of course, is that constantly perusing your phone is freaking rude — a clear signal that your reception is more important than anything going on in the here and now.

image: By ozjimbob