A nation of ghosts

No thanks to the ubiquitous smartphone, this is our future, says Francis W. Porretto:

We are becoming a nation of ghosts: persons whose bodies are wholly separated from their minds and souls. This isn’t a good thing, I assure you most sincerely. But there seems to be no stopping it. Indeed, suggesting that a traveling companion turn off his iPod or put away his phone so that a conversation can commence is now considered rude. Not that long ago, it was exactly the other way around.

A friend of mine told me about a woman he dated — a “blind date” — who never put down her phone throughout their dinner at an expensive restaurant that she selected. He paid the check and left her sitting there. I asked if she noticed his departure. He wasn’t sure.

Probably just as well. I have resisted the putative blandishments of the smartphone up to this point, at least partly due to parsimony, but I am all too aware of my capacity for distraction.

Addendum, 4 November: Lynn didn’t say so, but I think she took exception to this.


  1. fillyjonk »

    3 November 2015 · 5:53 pm

    I’ve given up on calling out certain students for sneaking their phones out in class.

    It’s an addiction. Not physiological, but psychological. I’m not interesting enough to wean them off it totally, I wonder if anyone is. (Put a gyrating exotic dancer in front of the guys, a man with nice abs and a kitten in front of the women, and test it out….)

    If I was at dinner with a guy and he kept checking his phone, I’d tell myself, “He’s not into you at all” and the feeling would become mutual.

  2. Chuck »

    4 November 2015 · 6:54 pm

    I will tolerate an “excuse me” and 30 seconds of distraction at the table, but any more than and I’m out of there.

  3. jsallison »

    5 November 2015 · 9:35 pm

    I’m about at the point of instructing customers at my window (they’ve previously been instructed by security to shut off their stupid electrocrack) whose phones ring while I’m talking with them to resolve their problems to leave the building and come back when you can act like a putative adult and leave your stupid f’n phone in the car.

  4. jsallison »

    5 November 2015 · 9:57 pm

    fillyjonk don’t give up. Tell them to take their trivial BS outside.

  5. jsallison »

    5 November 2015 · 10:24 pm

    fj I’ll presume you have tenure, if not, apologies.

RSS feed for comments on this post