On Monday, over dinner with friends, junior Emmett Tillamook came to the realization that not a minute passed without one friend of his looking at a phone. The epiphany was followed a further feeling of disconnection with his fellow humans.
The dinner, which occurred on the second story of the S.U.B., began with actual human interaction: Emmett regaling his three friends with a story about running into his ex-girlfriend at a party. The ‘vibes’ between the four friends were reported as “good”.
But that would soon change.
As Emmett’s story neared its climax, Emmett “saw Miranda [Kunstmann, junior], out of the corner of my eye, pick up her iPhone,” Emmett said. “She gazed into it, removed from the story and the human world around her. Lost in the dull white glow that bled out onto her face.”
When Emmett told the punchline his two other friends burst out in laughter. Miranda, still looking at the phone, gave a half-interested chuckle while typing. Emmett was not sure if she was laughing at his story or at the text she read.
Miranda proceeded to place the phone on the table. “She started giving us context for the message she just got,” Emmett said. “[Miranda was] talking about how Robin is this and that and blahblah. And, as if on cue,” the moment the glow disappeared from Miranda’s iPhone, Johnny Spicolini, junior, “reached into his pocket in haste and started reading a text message on his phone.”
For the rest of the evening, Miranda, Johnny and Rebecca Gould, junior, continued the dance of reading text messages, turning the four person dinner into a revolving three person conversation, with none of the conversations beginning or ending with the same set of listeners.
“I don’t want to seem like a holier-than-thou guy, but if my phone vibrates during a conversation, I figure it’s not important enough to disengage form he person right in front of me,” Emmett said.
As the dinner came to a close and the four friends lifted up their trays and stepped out of the booth, “I looked over on the other tables of the S.U.B. and realized that one person at every table was looking on their phone. It’s more disheartening and terrifying than the realization of eternal return!”
Emmett has said that ever since his discovery, he “feels out of place in this digitalized world, where the far-away and trivial are more important than the here and now, and people create bubbles around them and dig deeper into public displays of narcissism.”
Despite Emmett’s apparent disheartened feelings about the dinner, his friends think he is overreacting as he always does.
“Emmett’s a bit of a drama queen,” said friend and texter Rebecca Gould, putting her Blackberry back into her purse. “He grew up in rural South Dakota and is a philosophy major. He has his etiquette and principles, which is endearing, but it can be a bit much some times…What was the question again? Sorry, I had to text someone about a group project meeting two days from now.”
PHOTO COURTESY/ASHLEY KARDIAN