It’s holiday cuddle time. I’ve got my laptop, my boyfriend, blankets, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog playing. It’s one of my favorite shows, and I’m snuggled up to one of my favorite people, and yet I can’t seem to let my phone go. People keep facebooking me, emailing me, texting me, and I can’t help but to respond. I’d rather engage with the virtual presence of a person through my phone than with the very real human next to me. Even worse, I keep him out of the loop, laughing at inside jokes that wouldn’t make sense to repeat.
Oh, you might say, you get to see him all the time, why are you worried about splitting your attention? For those of you who don’t know, I’m in a longdistance relationship, and if I’m lucky I get to see him once a week for 15 min-maybe a day at most. The short time I get to spend with him should be spent on him, not addicted to the beeping of a cellphone.
And this doesn’t just apply to Will. I find myself at dinner texting someone I know I’ll see that night, or sitting in the common room watching Toradora while simultaneously trying to engage with the people around me, the tv, and the people in my phone. Am I just old fashioned in my belief that interaction should be kept human? I’ve kept many a contact through facebook chat that I rarely (if ever) see in person, sharing our deepest, most intimate secrets in a way that’s not always possible in real life for socially awkward dorks like me.
But in this way, I think I’m confusing the issue. Yes, it IS possible to both be engaged with a live human being at the same time as texting someone else. But is it the same interaction? I personally don’t think so. I think various forms of social media can be great facilitators in social interaction, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t also value face to face contact. Even if I get to see the person every day, I think they deserve just as much of my attention as someone I rarely get to see, and more of my attention than someone on my phone. Just as I wouldn’t start holding another verbal conversation while watching Dr. Horrible, I shouldn’t be holding a virtual one either. I think it will be a hard habit to break as for some reason I see the virtual as so very different from reality, but being able to actually focus on the person I’m talking to is probably worth it.