Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Turn Me Off

So I do have one mild complaint about the Community of Writers at Squaw: there was quite a lot of Cell Phone Worship going on during morning workshops. It starts this way:

1. Poet begins to read her poem aloud to small group. Someone's cell phone rings.

2. A number of people fumble around in their bags looking for their phones. Poet stops reading. No one seems to recognize their own ring. More fumble, mumble, grumble, apologies all around.

3. The call goes to voice mail with a little bleep. More apologies.

4. Poet starts reading again. And a cell phone rings again.

I was reminded of this reading Shelby's post, Instead of Checking Email During Worship. My thought? Of course, people check email during worship. They keep their cell phones on during small group workshops with the former Poet Laureate. We are addicted to distractions that keep us from focusing on the here and now. Why? It might be painful. It might be disturbing. It might be real. We have trouble with all of that.

Here's how the phone and email addiction works. You think you're important. We all do. You need to be available. Hey, we all do. You never know who might call or email. You keep the phone on in some fashion and are available by email at all times. It's the element of randomness to it that makes it addictive.

And here's what you lose when you keep your cell phone/Blackberry on. You lose the ability to concentrate because there is always the possibility that you might have something more important to do.