Our obsession is comical … is it also unsafe?

Obsession with our mobile phones, that is. Just observe the people around you the next time your flight is getting ready to take off. When the plane door closes and we need to turn off our phones, watch how many people keep on talking and checking their emails. I feel sorry for flight attendants. They often have to ask people several times to turn off their electronics, and have to listen to rude comments by passengers.

I sat next to a guy in first class last week and he never did turn off his phone. He set it to airplane mode instead, telling me that studies have shown that cell phones cause no interference for the pilots and their systems. Is this the time to be disputing studies, right before the all-important take-off? Personally, I’d rather not cause any unnecessary risk to the flight, whether real or not, so my phone is always off. (My husband will tell you that I always follow the rules and I get upset with him if his bag is not fully underneath his seat.)

This obsession about not wanting to turn off cell phones isn’t funny … it could possibly cause havoc with the plane’s electronics (I’d love to get some pilot feedback here!).

What’s really comical to watch is how fast people grab their cell phones the very second the wheels hit the ground. People that seemed asleep the entire flight suddenly jump to action and lunge for their phones. Others who were deep in conversation with the person beside them stop mid-sentence to hit the power button. Within seconds, heads are all down staring at the all-important emails that came in while in-flight.

And we’re not happy with just checking emails once the flight lands. We continue this obsession on thePeople on bus bus heading to the car rental station. Jump on the bus, drop your bag, sit down, tune in. Bus stops, grab your bag, hustle to the next point. No conversation, no looking at the people on the bus … just staring into our phones. This is where I find our obsession most comical, especially when I look through the entire bus and see the majority of people all glued to their little screens.

The humor stops when I’m driving on the highway next to someone who’s texting with both hands while trying to keep control of the steering wheel at 80mph. I get as far away from the texter as possible, as fast as possible.

And where am I at in all this connected-craziness, you ask? I do check my email upon boarding my flight. Then I turn off my phone, forcing myself to disconnect from both the phone and from the non-stop mind chatter. I probably have a few feelings of withdrawal as I shut down (but I do totally shut down my phone!). Upon landing, I do turn on my phone, though usually I’m not in too much of a scurry to see who wrote or called me. And on the rental car bus, I just love watching all the rest of you in your heads-down position, smiling all the way to our destination in wonderment of our obsession!

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