Last night, attending the musical Elf with my children, noticing the bright and colorful stage design, sparkly costumes, animated actors and excitement for Christmas stirring in my heart, I couldn’t help but notice something else.
And this had nothing to do with the bright green tights. It had to do with the audience.
Before the show began and during intermission it seemed like one out of every five adults were on their phone. Texting. Reading. Distracted. Disengaged to where their feet were planted and from who they were with, definitely elsewhere. The group seated in front of us consisted of two kids and three adults. All three adults were texting or checking their phones for something. Searching? Scanning? Looking for meaning?
I too sent my hubby a text before shutting off my phone so that I could report to him the length of the program, so he would know what time to pick us up. These phones are handy, I am the first to admit, but what in the hell did we do with ourselves before them? I am curious about how we got along in this world fifteen years ago? Did we talk to each other more? Were our conversations engaging and meaningful? Did we know more about each other? Seems to me if you go to a show with someone, you would want to talk to each other in between curtain time. The couple next to me pulled out their phones the second the show was over.
I’m not saying my kids and I talked about world peace or the motivation behind each character on stage but we certainly had lots to talk about. We had favorite actors, costumes, scenes, etc. We were thrilled to see something that made us laugh. We had stuff to say to each other. We knew what the other thought because we listened to them tell us as we shared our experience.
Now I’m not trying to come across all holier than thou, I’m just incredibly curious, what was life like before the iphone, cell phone and all things mechanical? I know I’d personally be dangerous with an iphone, that’s why I don’t have one. I can get easily pulled in to what’s in front of me and I know it is easy for me to get distracted by the convenience of information at my fingertips.
Having that experience has stayed with me into today. I’m not singing the songs from the show, I’m wondering what my lesson is for me in all this. A mirror into my own behavior. Where do I not focus and engage with those I am with? When do I check out?
How in the hell did I survive before bright green tights? That’s the real question. Want to get me some of those. And I’ll take someone with me to buy them, not my phone.
by J.G. McGlothern