Warm Connections {Day 9}: Technology Versus People

I caught myself. Guilty!

As I was standing in line at the grocery store, cell phone in one hand, fingers moving quickly while emailing in the other hand, I suddenly felt disconnected.

I felt disconnected to the person who was serving me, ringing up my groceries, helping me, working as quickly as possible to get me through the line and on my way and out the door.

It felt odd.

I looked up, put my phone down, and then I apologized.

I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be on my phone while checking out. How rude of me!

I’m not sure what’s happened to our society, but I’m just as guilty as anyone. I’ve caught myself several times doing the above, and it feels yucky. So impersonal, so disrespectful, so rude.

From now on I am going to try to be more aware of the people around me, rather than the technology in my hand.

And then I had a moment last week of “connecting.” I work part time at a very cool design store in southern Oregon, and see many wonderful people come through the doors.

This warm fall afternoon a little lady came in with 2 bags on her arm. She was tiny, small bones, dressed very fashionable, and you could just tell she knew what she wanted. She was kind, had a twinkle in her eye, asked me a few questions, and then she set her bags down and opened one up.

I have something for you.

I felt like a little girl waiting for a one-cent piece of candy.

Inside the bag she pulled out the most beautiful heirloom tomato I had ever seen and offered it to me.

What happened next felt right.

We had the warmest conversation. A true connection. I found myself loving the dialogue with this complete stranger.

Face time. One-on-one.

I brought the tomato home, took a quick picture, and then I set it out in the sun to warm up, as if it were picked off the vine.

Warmer connections come when we stop what we are doing and engage with others, even with complete strangers.

You never know when you will brighten someone’s day, even in the grocery line.

Does technology ever get in the way of your personal contact with others?

If you missed previous days to 31 Days of Warm Connections …
Day 1 (and 700 31 Day Bloggers): Secret Ingredient to Warmer Connections
Day 2: Bringing the Beauty of Autumn to Your Table
Day 3: Multi-Generational Pear Applesauce
Day 4: Canning Suncrest Peaches with a Friend
Day 5: How to Find Contentment
Day 6: Encouragement with Easy Pear Cobbler
Day 7: Bush’s Garbanzos, Chicken, and Quinoa Soup for a Sports Family
Day 8: More About Others

22 comments on “Warm Connections {Day 9}: Technology Versus People”

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  3. So true. Thank you for posting this :) This is exactly why I have reduced my Facebook account to just my family overseas and deleted twitter and linkedin. Our phone company recently upgraded my phone as mine was on the ‘old’ network and I made sure that i got the most basic one I could so I wouldn’t be tempted to check my email at inappropriate times. In the first week that I became ‘unplugged’ from social media I had such a fantastic week because I did actually connect with people and I have had to entertain because I can’t just keep up with my friends on facebook and survive without seeing them for ages. I wish more people would come to this realization and I thank you for your posts. I wouldn’t want to live with some of the conditions our grandparents had to back in wartime but I would like to live with their philosophy of life. Simple and connected :)

  4. Exactly! Last week I began a little experiment on myself to find out if I could concentrate on just one thing at a time because it annoys the life out of me when others with whom I interact are distracted. I call it my one thing at a time experiment on the blog.

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  8. Maybe you were…”entertaining an angel unaware.” Hmmm.

    Regarding your question, my husband and I often sit side-by-side reading or typing away on our laptops, not speaking for an hour at a time. I often wonder about that as well.

  9. I love this post and the heirloom tomato lady. I don’t answer my phone when I am in line at the grocery store or any store because I think it’s rude. I love all things technology but when I am with others it stays in my purse, my car or my pocket. ANd yes…I do get chastised by my family for not always answering my phone but I am enjoying the time with whomever I am with and I know they want that same attention. Now if I could get my one really good friend to put hers away when I am with her…I’d be a happy camper!!

    BTW…your trip to Montana looks amazing!!

  10. Pingback: The Table Experience with Bush's Beans - Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  11. the grocery store check-out is one of my favorite face-time opportunities. i always make a point to make small talk with the checker and make sure our transaction ends with both of us smiling. i don’t want to be just another customer- it’s my personal goal to be the customer that made him/her smile that day. great story – thanks for sharing & inspiring.

  12. I wish this could be published on every blog, fb page, and newsletter…..I am so tired of people constantly looking at their phones as if the most important news was going to appear any second.
    THANK YOU!!!!

  13. Amen sister! THANK YOU for posting this. It is one of my soap boxes, and yes, I do find myself guilty of it too. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have all this portable technology…truly…what good does it do? This was a refreshing reminder today…

  14. Technology will surely advance and methods will certainly change, but the personal touch is always best…..technology can be a blessing but it can also be a curse….. I just go back to what my Mother would say….Manners matter…..I believe that goes for e-manners too.
    Sounds like you had a wonderful moment with that woman. I also need to remember to put the phone down and pay attention to those around me.
    Thanks for a wonderful timely post.

  15. YES, but I’m usually on the receiving end of rude. Like the checkout guy who is texting while ringing me up, or just talking to another person while waiting on me like I’m invisible. Or even worse, the Moms who talk on the phone while walking with their kids. How is this Mom time? And what message is it sending to those kids?

    I understand that the past two generations have grown up with technology, but they also failed to learn how wonderful it is to connect with people face-to-face. I have a cell phone, and I use it to text and tweet, but never when I’m talking to someone, or just WITH someone, or shopping.

    Congratulations on putting down your phone! And what a wonderful moment with the wise tomato-bearing woman. :)

  16. I totally agree with everything you have said here and I am guilty of it, too. I am moving my office upstairs in the next few weeks just for this reason. I need to get back in touch with my kitchen and cooking without the computer right next to it interrupting me at every turn. I need to reconnect with friends and neighbors and get out of the house more. I think we all may find at some point that the technology has taken over our lives and that we are missing what is most important.

  17. Oh, how I want to be the girl with the tomato to share. To engage, that is the challenge. And in it lies so much reward.

  18. Oh boy this is a touchy subject with me lately! My sister, whom I usually adore, has gotten so bad about always being on her phone. She is constantly texting, facebooking, or searching the web. She took it to an unacceptable level the other night when she came over to our house for a birthday celebration for me. She was only here for about 45 minutes but she was playing an online game with someone she didn’t even know instead of connecting with her sister, brother in law, and nieces and nephews. It really hurt my feelings. I don’t know how to draw it to her attention w/o sounding like a whiney witch. I’m completely open to suggestions!

  19. Beautiful. Thanks for the reminder about the importance of genuine connection in this technology-crazed society! I didn’t realize you worked at Terra Firma — my husband and I were out on a date night for our anniversary last night and walked right by there, drooling over the window display. (Well, I was drooling… my husband was probably completely unaware, haha). Love that store!

    Have a beautiful day, full of real-life connection and delicious tomatoes. :)

  20. Yes, I have been guilty of the same, but like you, recognize it and choose to put the phone down and make people the priority. When I’m at the checkout I don’t answer my phone, or if it’s my girls I answer and say I’ll call you back. If I’m having lunch with a friend, I ignore any texts or calls. I may check to see if it’s one of my children but otherwise I ignore it. I encourage my girls that when they are with their friends, they shouldn’t be texting other friends. RUDE!! Helping our kids be aware of “people” in an age of technology can be tricky. One day last week, we looked up, and all four of us were sitting on the couches with our laptops. We laughed about it and realized that hmm..sometimes we are to into technology. We weren’t ignoring each other but we weren’t focused completely on each other either.

    I don’t want to miss out on connections because I was focused on my phone or my computer

  21. I think we can all answer “yes” to that question. Technology is a wondrous thing, but human connection even more so. I strive every day to do less social media and more socializing. Enjoying your 31 Days of Connections posts, Sandy.

  22. So true, so true. We have all become tiny isolated worlds of our own. We, as a society, are not interacting with others like we should. Even at home, we find ourselves interacting with those in cyberspace more than those across the table.
    We all need to put down the technology and focus on the immediate.
    Thanks, Sandy, for the gentle reminder.

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