All Phubbed Up

Unplug and seize the day

By Hilary Berg

You’re at home, in your comfy chair, staring at your phone. Eyes locked in, ears turned off. Your roommate — offspring, significant other, furry friend — tries to grab your attention, but it takes extra effort. You suddenly snap out of it and back into reality. But before long, you’re sucked into the virtual vortex, again.

The Australians have created a new word for this modern-day experience: phubbing, a portmanteau of phone and snubbing — clever and really satisfying to say.

It’s terrible, I know; but we’ve all phubbed up, and some of us more than we’d like to post, I mean, admit. 

How can you blame anyone?

We’re looking for an escape (Pinterest, Design Home, Emoji Blitz — don’t judge me). We’re trying to stay informed, from international to Oregon news (BBC, OPB), to our very own neighborhoods (Nextdoor) — anyone lost a black and white dog just outside Yamhill? Yep, that would be our dog, Ditto, the escape artist. Not to mention, we’re looking for comfort (Calm) and connection (Words with Friends, Facebook, Instagram) during this bizarre, socially isolated time.

While all these apps are generally harmless, many of us spend too much time on our screens, when we could be making memories and accomplishing great things.

One of my favorite movies, “Dead Poets Society,” reveals a similar lesson. In one of the most iconic scenes, Robin Williams’ character, John Keating, urges his class: “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” If the class had been from today’s world, some students likely would have missed the message — too distracted checking texts — which is ironic, of course.

In my mind, we are those students — albeit masked, spread out and never allowed to stand on desks — in need of a memorandum: CARPE DIEM.

In other words: Unplug, boys.

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