Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Is The Table Vibrating?

We recently had our granddaughter and her UNC student friends over for lunch after church on Sunday. They were a spirited group of young people whose conversations can bounce from one topic to another without missing a beat. Topics ranged from the latest people in their lives, where life was taking them, and can I have another helping of spaghetti and meatballs. If you want to stay awake and remain savvy, then hang around with some young people. Their energy is contagious.

But then a strange phenomenon occurred. I felt vibration rippling through the dining room table. I first thought it was a minor earthquake, but the vibration never came to a complete stop. I thought maybe it was my imagination or the air conditioning blower fan was wobbling.

I asked my wife, “Do you feel that?”

“Feel what?” she asked, encouraging everyone around the table to go for second helpings of food. (Those who may have eaten in an Italian heritage household know there is no point declining to eat anything else. Even if you say no, you are still going to get a second helping heaped upon your plate!) Food is far more important than a vibrating table.

Back to the vibration ___ when the table was set there was a bread plate on the left and glass for drinks on the right. As each young person sat at their place, they all positioned their iPhones set on vibration mode between the bread plate and the glass.

Throughout the entire meal, every phone on the table at one point or another vibrated with incoming messages. When all phones vibrated in unison, the water in my glass actually had ripples moving across the surface like I was casting stones into a lake. The incoming text messages never stopped.

Young people can be amazing. They can look you straight in the eye, answering your question, while at the same time their fingers nimbly text back messages with nary a glance at the phone keyboard.

Cell phone and tablets are here to stay. Whether we like it or not, older adults must adjust to the new paradigm of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and everything else out there that may seem like noise on some days.

Embrace the future. Overcome your fears. Get you grandkids to help you sort things out.

Just jump into the fray and start making ripples!

Robert Parlante
July 2014