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Shrinking Interactions

by Miki Saxon

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeno77/2446183097I had just finished unloading my cart at Home Depot the other day when a woman pulled up with her two young sons; when I offered her my cart she shook her head and kept walking.

There was a time when she might have offered to take the cart, but those times seem a part of the past.

Instead, she kept walking, talked to her sons and answered her cell phone.

Is the world really shrinking or is it just a narrowing of interactions and less interest in what’s around us in real-time?

The more distracted we become, and the more emphasis we place on speed at the expense of depth, the less likely and able we are to care.

Everyone wants his parent’s, or friend’s, or partner’s undivided attention — even if many of us, especially children, are getting used to far less. Simone Weil wrote, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

Each step “forward” has made it easier, just a little, to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity.

As usual, I am out of step.

I take back the carts, function beautifully sans cell/smartphone, pay attention to the humans in my orbit and love real-world interactions.

Digging in the dirt, conversation and reading (mostly cozy mystery fiction) are my favorite “time wasters;” no Facebook, Twitter or Candy Crush (my sister’s addiction).

I prefer to be connected to a few in the real world than connected to dozens (hundreds?) in the cyber world.

In short, I want to continue to pay attention and be present for whatever time I have left on this planet, whether decades or days.

Flickr image credit: Zeno_

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