Where Have All The People Gone?

It occurred to me yesterday, as I was driving around creation doing errands, that I can go through an entire day without talking to a single soul. Not one verbal exchange. Wow.

Here’s the scenario:

  1. Drop off children at school queue from the comfort of my own driver’s seat, wave and watch them go.
  2. Drive to the drive-up ATM machine at the bank and get cash. Again, not leaving my car.
  3. Drive on the highway to Target. (I know Target, again…)
  4. Get out, talk to no one, grab my big red card and go in.
  5. Throw too much in my cart at Target and then go to the self-checkout with aforementioned goodies.
  6. When the machine doesn’t work correctly, swear at it. The girl that hangs around the self checkout area waiting for these inevitable snafus, comes over, says nothing but swipes her card and enters a code to get the dang thing working again. Five minutes become 15 with the computerized checkout woman repeatedly telling you to remove item from bagging  area, return item to bagging area.
  7. Girl comes back and again says nothing, but this time does smile as she swipes her card and enters code again. This two more times.
  8. Tell myself I will never do that again, take my packages and mumble to myself all the way out to the parking lot. Put bags away minus the one candy bar I need for the ride home.
  9. Stop at the supermarket and do the weekly grocery shop that is not really weekly but every other day. Grab the scanner and bag items as I go.
  10. Again, head to the self check out, this time since items are in their bags, no snafus and off on my merry way.

Whoa! I really don’t have to talk to a living person at all if I don’t want to. If I had one, I could check my email on my iPhone, check Facebook, check the weather and probably even call home to check my answering machine if I had to. (Can you believe we actually still have a land line? I know, so 2010.)

The whole day would be me, myself and I.

Oh my GOD! How boring.

How on earth did we get to this? This anti-social society we have become? Our heads are buried in our iPhones, and texting has taken the place of conversation. The smiley face is cute and all, but seeing a real person’s face move into a smile is much, much better.

I don’t know about you, but I need people. I am one of them — “the luckiest people in the world” that someone wrote a song about because I need those people!

Yesterday was an anomaly. A blip on my chart of social interaction. I am usually the one who talks to everyone I see. I have something to say to nearly everyone. And I am damn proud of it!

You make people’s days brighter when you say kind words to them, or smile and say hello to them. I know it makes me feel better anyway. Especially in our 24-7 connected world where we don’t have to interact with people anymore.

People! I miss you!

So I won’t be heading to the self-checkout anymore. And as for the ATM, I think I will walk into the bank unless it’s raining from now on. And while it’s probably really cool, Santa can keep his iPhone for himself this year.

Today, even though I drove one of my kids to school (the other had an early morning activity) , I parked and walked with her into school. I kissed her goodbye at her classroom, waved to some kids and then went to deliver my son’s lunch to him in his classroom. I said “hi” to people I passed. And then gave my son a big hug and kissed him goodbye.

It was a nice social start to my morning.

And then I went home and sent a zillion emails to a zillion faceless people I need to contact.

Oy.

Anyway, what about you? In our age of 24-7 connectedness, iPhones and texting, are you STILL a real people person?

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8 thoughts on “Where Have All The People Gone?

  1. I don’t think I am…I just contacted painters via email instead of calling…it’s like I’m phone-averse. Sad, really. I’ve got to get better at engaging myself more.

  2. I was NEVER a real people person. That has hampered me in my professional life, never mind my social life. When I was online dating I would break up with someone the moment they wanted to meet face-to-face. I could get into sexting except I don’t photograph well.

  3. Social networking sites. Gah! I have never experienced going a day without verbally interacting with someone but I cringe at the idea. I’m a Facebook frequenter but there are times when I tell myself “you know, there’s a place like FB called ‘outside’ where people ‘friend’ each other by making eye contact and smiling.”

  4. i loved, loved your piece. I think I experienced the same lack of communication that same day and i too got out of my car the next day and boy what a mood lifter to actually have a two minute fun conversation with someone! It put a smile on my face having had human contact! xoxox,meg

  5. errr… I now feel guilty. I really don’t mind a day alone. Just myself and the dog to talk to. Kind of luxurious in a terrible way.

  6. I certainly need days where I completely “check out” and withdraw from the general population and it was especially true when I worked in retail/customer service. And when I was recruiting I would absolutely NEVER pick up the phone and call someone just to “chat” since it was pretty much glued to my ear all day long. But I am definitely a person who needs contact on a regular basis. Of course working in an office environment generally quenches that desire, but I tend to be the one who talks to the sales clerks and cashiers, smiles at the customer in front of me, or engages in a conversation with the wait-staff.

  7. It’s amazing how we are slowly moving into a robotic society where we rely on or technical gadgets to communicate that simply face-to-face interaction is seemingly underated. I love human interaction and I love how you express the subtleties of self-absorbtion. I think a day of non interaction isn’t a bad thing but if it becomes a norm, an everyday type of thing , then there is definitly something wrong. I don’t want to end being a robot or live a WALL-E lifestyle.

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