Lately, I feel like I’m missing the days that we all used to hustle into crowded elevators and stare up at the ceiling. Or down at our feet. Or maybe–just maybe–smile at the others around us and say something completely unimportant like, boy it’s hot out there, or this elevator is always so darn slow!

I’m missing the days that I would pass a colleague on the street at lunchtime and say hi, and I wouldn’t have to get her attention to do it.

I’m missing the days that I would wait for my coffee by reading the menu or thinking about the day ahead or just daydreaming out the window.

I’m missing the days that we couldn’t check email from the playground or the dinner table or the dentist office chair, and so we didn’t even miss it.

I’m also missing the light brown M&Ms lately. No good reason. But there were never more than 2 in the whole bag and it somehow made them more special.


44 thoughts on “Progress?”

  1. I know.

    No judgment from here, either. I check my mail everywhere. And I get this nibbling feeling when I am, sort of this inner voice going YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. It makes me wonder what foundation we're laying for our kids.

    I feel like it can't be good.

  2. I can't help you with the current plugged-in, eyes-averted state of society. But if you want tan M&Ms, just go to your local Army and Navy Supply Store and buy some MREs. You know, Meals-Ready-to-Eat? They're 3 decades old, but they taste about the same.

  3. I am with you, Liz. This morning I very nearly tweeted: Tad nostalgic for the days when we LiveJournalled for the sheer fun of it, never expected to get paid and nobody was a blog expert.

    But then I went and blogged instead. Because I know nostalgia will only get me so far, and if I can really stay with the present moment, I know those blogging days never really happened. They only happened in my mind. And this is it.

    You can be the first person to say on your next elevator ride: “hey. Let's stare at the ceiling instead of at our devices.” Or at your next brunch with lady friends: “Let's commit to one tech-free brunch a month.” Or at the next blog conference: “Let's put our devices down.”

    You're a leader in the space – people will listen and (if not obey,) at least consider. And take a moment to cultivate self-awareness.

  4. I'm in my mid-20's and I feel the same way. I sometimes feel like we are so wrapped up in the “go go go rightnoworyouwilldie” of phones and everything else that we miss out on a lot of the really fun stuff.

    I'm so tired of it that I have even started writing letters! I have yet to get any back because my friends just gchat me the next day, but I feel like I'm making a tiny difference.

  5. GUILTY! Though, I'm not 100% sure I miss the uncomfortable moments in the elevator 🙂 I have to admit, my iPod has provided me a convenient out when I'm walking through the mall and those annoying people at the Dead Sea Spa kiosk try to con me into stopping and buying something. It makes it easier to walk by and pretend I didn't hear them.

    Tan M&Ms…ah the memories. When I was little I was convinced the chocolate in them was better than the ones in the dark brown ones. I have no idea why. Am I the only one who thinks the blue ones in there just seem wrong?

  6. Brown m&ms? (Ew, gross.)

    (I'm a big fan of only turning on my mobile when I actually need to use it for PHONE CALLS. My friends think I'm crazy.)

  7. Now Delilah's got me nostalgic for my days in the military, when I thought I was important because my unit issued me a pager.

    Heck, I miss riding in an elevator every day.

  8. Just a few days ago I came home from work, plugged my device into the wall, and spent approximately 7 minutes focused on my children who I hadn't seen or talked to all day. After 7 minutes, though, I was just sure that something MAJOR must have popped on one of (1) Facebook; (2) work email; (3) personal email; (4) blog email; or (5) family business email. So in the middle of my (three year old) son's important story, I started checking my accounts. I continued to nod and “uh huh. honey that's great!” He finally stopped in the middle of his story and said “mommy, look at my two eyes!.”

    I may or may not have said that to him a time or two when I felt that HE wasn't paying attention to ME.

  9. Um, there was lots of friendly chatting in the line at the Apple Store today, to my surprise.

    But… yeah.

  10. What I like about your blog–almost more than any other I read (with maybe the exception of “15 minutes for lunch”)–the comments are just as good as the blog. Of course it's your amazing writing , which has drawn this amazing cast of characters that so often add to the entertaiment value. Just want to say thanks. Bright spots in a dull day!

  11. Makes me almost glad I can't check my email from my phone. Except I feel like a dinosaur at places like BlogHer. A dinosaur who can't Tweet and check email. And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs.

  12. I at times feel this way. Other times I feel nekkid without my phone. There are no easy answers, except to enjoy that it's available to you, yet make sure to take the time without it.

    Think of it this way: when we were kids and had to wait in doctors offices, (long supermarket lines…etc.) our parents wanted to murder us by the time the doc showed up. How many times could my mom say STOP TOUCHING THINGS before her eyes bugged out, was my favorite game. That? I don't miss. I'd rather have my kids watch a silly video on my phone than deal with that.

  13. It is an interesting paradox because we feel so tied to email and then keep buying more things to tie us to it (read our new iPad). Hard to remember the before email time and I have mixed emotions because if not for the technology I couldn't telecommute, but if I wasn't telecommuting my home life might be a bit more neatly divided between work and home. Hmmm… Thought provoking as usual.

  14. I always make comments in elevators. But I only take elevators while at work. So usually it's to warn people they're taking a ride to jail.

    I miss the days where cell phones didn't exist and you had to leave messages on answering machines. I only take my phone with me in case of emergency. If someone wants to talk to me, they can leave a message and wait until I'm home.

  15. I don't know. My smartphone and blue(!!) M&Ms kind of make me a better mom. My daughter would agree with the second part, at least.

    But I know what you're saying…

  16. I had completely forgotten about the light brown M&M's. See, Liz? If it weren't for you being plugged in, I would have missed out on a sweet memory. (Okay, not the best excuse, but it's late on Friday and I'm kinda pooped.)

  17. I was in the elevator the other day, checking my blackberry, of course, and some woman said “what did we do before we had those?” And it took everything in me not to say “engage in inane elevator banter, like this one.”

  18. I hated the tan M&Ms as a kid, so I definitely don't miss them. But I do miss the pre-smart phone days. It's a little uncomfortable knowing I'm an addict. And on day 1 of 7 with no mobile service (vacation). Thank G-d for the wireless internet or I would lose. my. mind.

  19. I've always been more partial to the blue ones myself.
    My phone is a flip. I barely get email and can never respond without it freezing up. Getting on the web? Nigh impossible. Does it bother me? Eh.

  20. Technologically we are evolving, but our humanity is certainly paying the price. People don't exchange pleasantries any more. We are losing our ability to communicate face to face. SO much is done via the internet or social media that no one is actually interacting in person. That's why we are becoming a nation of obese , socially retarded people. Don't get me wrong, I am guilty as charged. I'll text any day of the week versus a phone call and I'm pretty sure I'd marry my IPhone if it were legal. But when I hear that it is statistically more likely that you will meet your partner via the internet rather than say a bar or through a friend, that makes me a little sad.Where's the people to people interaction? I have been trying to unplug my family at least part of the day so they can actually visit with their friends and not just skype them. Of course, when we are unplugged..I feel a little unglued like an appendage is missing. But I am working through it!Progress? Well, I guess that depends on who you are and how you like your socializing served up..I personally still prefer a face to face sit down with coffee in hand and a good girl talk over skype, FB, email, or any other. There are some things that just need to be done in person…like living.Happy Mothering!

  21. I do enjoy the conveniences my iPhone has afforded me. It does come with several inconveniences–not the least of which is the 4-year-old iPhone addict that is blooming in my living room.

    As for “statistically more likely to meet my significant other via the internet,” I think I'll go with the “more likely to be struck by lightning” option.

  22. And I, a 67 year old man, have gotten to the point where I'm trying only to read e-mails on my Blackberry and respond to only those that demand an immediate response. And I DO NOT take it out for dinner with me. Dale is more than enough company for me and people who use the bloody thing during social engagements are dolts. Slow is better…..especially when slow gets defined in hours.

  23. You are all welcome to visit my in-laws on their farm, where there is no internet and no cell-phone reception. Trust me, only the first day is fun.

    However, you have an excellent point about the M&Ms.

  24. I miss the days that I could have lunch with a friend and discuss a country without her whipping out her smart phone to google it, then get distracted by her facebook, then…

    I miss the days when people got together for drinks and the only thing on the table was drinks and coasters.

    I miss the days when people were outside watching sunsets for real, not just posting that as their twitter/facebook/myspace status.

  25. I wrote a post on this…I am addicted and I HATE it. Ever since the little thing called a “black berry” came into my life…he has completely taken over. Trying to detach myself {not working so well}.

  26. I feel the same. It makes me sad to think that we will probably never go back to the way things used to be. If anything, we will become more and more “connected.”

  27. Thank you @still blonde, I think so too.

    Every day I'm honored that so many smart, insightful women and men take the time out of their days to join (or better) the conversation here. It's a writer's greatest pride.

  28. I miss the light browns too! They were always my favorite!

    I am actually going to try to stay off the computer and the iPhone for a whole week, because my mind is spinning with too much useless information!

  29. My first comment here! I saw this post the day my brand new iphone 4 fell from my hand face down onto concrete and shattered into a million gazillion pieces. I cried a little I admit, and the next day sadly took it into the apple store, mentioning how “of all the things to drop…”, to which the super-nice young man replies “relax. its just a phone. your baby is fine!” 🙂 But seriously, people, glass shatters, its not rocket science!

    Also you reminded me of the tan MandMs which I loved. I used to think the brown ones (dark & tan) were the best because they tasted like REAL chocolate. I thought I could taste the artificial colors on the other ones.

    Just to let you know, I Discovered this blog a few weeks ago & have become ADDICTED. I'm a new mom, with a lot to learn, and was eager to find the wisdom on the webs but I've been disappointed by some parenting blogs because of the catty comments & sensationalist posting. I have to agree that your writing is incredible, and the community here is intelligent and respectful!

  30. Leave it at home for a day. I wonder if you'll miss it.

    I don't know how to day what I want to here.

    Yes, I use the internet. Multiple times a day. From a computer.

    No, I do not have a cell phone. Or an ipod. Or ipad.

    I find freedom in my ability to disappear for an hour on my commute. To be important enough to leave a message for. And to read a book on the bus and read bumper stickers.

    I hate being connected all the time. I like my electronic-free, carpal-tunnel-free hands. They're good for page turning.

  31. I often think that I should go on a technological diet, like a detox. But the addiction is overwhelming. SO I made a few adjustments: if my daughter wants my attention, everything gets left. She is after all more important than any email, twitter post or FB event. No checking twitter/FB/email more than once very 2 hours (email exception when I am at work). And unsubscribing from every newsletter that I have not read in the past month or more. Seriously, i don't need to know everything, or receive every joke to my inbox or sign every petition. All these things where created to connect, but it seems I rarely do these days with my face buried in my once BB, now Iphone.

    Either way, I understand your dilemma. I have no answer as I am not throwing everything out just yet.

  32. Yesterday, I left my phone at home while we ventured to the lake for the day. And I didn't miss it one bit. In fact, it felt fabulous to be without it for an entire 8 hours. *gasp*

  33. I miss a lot of things from the good old days. I miss those days when blackberries and iPhones didn't exist, and your boss couldn't call you just when you're having that picnic with your friends.

  34. there has been a lot of similar sentiment like this swirling around me recently. some of it coming from me. but then, just two days ago, i had a flash. i remembered being a first time mom and feeling super isolated. antsy because, while i was sitting on the floor trying to convince myself that playing with my infant was more entertaining than it actually was, i wanted to check email or call someone. just for a few minutes. just to connect with another adult.

    this thought came to me as i was playing with my second son, now 8 months. i felt so much more calm. so much more able to be in the moment and focus on him, even though it was a little, well, less than thrilling. i know that this is mostly b/c of the things that come with becoming a mom for the second time (at least the things that come with it for me). i'm just generally more calm and at peace with life and the shape it's taken for me as a mom who works from home. but, honestly, part of it is also thanks to my iPhone.

    i'm a little embarrassed admitting it. i'm sure i sound like a horrible mother. but it helps me to know that i can quickly check in on the other things in my life when i feel i need to. i don't have to obsess about the next chance i'll have to check in on whatever it is that i'm wondering about when watching my little boy chase a ball stops holding my attention.

    it's hard, though. i'm sure i check more than i should. i'm not always great at putting it away when i'm done and leaving it away for a while. i'm working on that stuff.

    so, i guess, more than missing a time before i had an iPhone, i sometimes wish i was a different person. someone who could be wholly entertained by her 8 month old. someone who didn't feel like she wanted to see what's going on with work except for when it was absolutely necessary. but, i'm not that person. and i'm also working on not trying to be someone i'm not. so i'll just work at the balance. at making sure i spend quality time with my kids and that i give them a little heads up–mama may need to check her email, you know, to set expectations–and that i do it infrequently and quickly so that they don't feel like they have to compete with the other things–with the technology— in my life.

    and really, i want to achieve this kind of behavior around all of the people in my life. all of the people i love. all of the people who i'm curious about. not just my kids.

  35. I have a great story about this sort of thing. I have 4 kids, 3 teenagers and a 2-year-old. Yesterday Nicole, age 17, was watching Gigi, age 2, while I got some other stuff done around the house. Nicole has her own iPhone and a new boyfriend. Deadly combination. So Nicole cannot tear herself away from her facebook app, and is trying to type with one hand while carrying Gigi over her shoulder with the other. She walks around a corner and whacks the Gigi's head against the wall. Gigi starts screaming, I come running, and Nicole is STILL glued to phone. I pick up the baby and yell “Give me the f*ing phone! I'll keep it for you until you grow up a little bit.” (Not my best moment, I admit.) My screaming creates dead silence, and into the silence the baby says, “No, Mommy. I'll keep it.”

  36. Seriously, what did moms do before streaming video? Seriously?

    My son Moose threw a massive tantrum when we trucked from the Chicago to a farm 40 miles due west.

    I'll be damned if my younger son Jack couldn't enjoy his first real cow.

    So, out came the streaming Youtube dancing Elmo video. Instant serenity…

    I admit, I get it. We are too plugged in as people. It is nice to turn off our computers, cell phones, ipods and the like.

    That's why when I am at the playground…I am at the playground. But when a tantrum brews in a line at Costco, I heart progress.

  37. I haven't found the joy in text messaging yet but my MIL, Hubby, niece, SIL, brother, etc… all have. It drives me crazy!!

    I do check my e-mail on my phone but I have a “no phones or electronics at dinner” rule.

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