by Camelia Miron Skiba
The other day, waiting for my hubby to pick me up from work, I decided to do something different than the usual. No, I didn’t undress in the middle of the street. And no, I didn’t dance nor did I sing from the top of my lungs. What I did was instead of reaching for my phone, I decided to look around me.
Don’t roll your eyes at me because I know you all do the same. Yeah, you too. Whether waiting for the bus, for the waitress to bring the food or in line at Starbucks we all do the same: stare at our phones.
Back to my story. as most days in Arizona it was a sunny day. The type of day that envelops you in a warm and golden blanket, switching your mood to instant laziness and daydreaming. The cloudless sky caught my attention at first. Four white metal birds left white puffy lines behind them. To my left and right red and gray brick buildings stood tall, their windows reminding me of puppet eyes, shinny but unmoving. A breeze twirled green leaves in a dance of Bolero.
A man dressed with a yellow vest walked from one car to another, verifying for paid parking stubs. Two students—a girl in a floral dress and short boots, and a guy with a maroon hat turned backwards and aviator’s glasses—passed by me. Crumbs of their conversation brought back nostalgic memories:
The girl: “I can’t come to the party. I have a boatload of homework.”
The guy: “Seriously? You give up being with me to do homework? Come on, it’ll be fun. There will be booze too.”
The girl (walking past me): “What if we get caught?”
The guy: “We run.”
I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation because they both burst into laughter as the distance between us grew bigger and bigger.
A few skaters and bikers zooming between two red and white gates caught my attention next. All guys, except for one girl on a pink bike, wore sunglasses and headphones. I held my breath when a biker rode by me, puffing from a cigarette hanging in the corner of his mouth. Don’t know who made more noise—the big and small wheels—or the few birds fighting over a piece of bread to my left.
I kept watching the birds, curious to see who will win: the two large and bully birds, or the tinier and scrawny one.
Two things happened next: one, I found myself not only relaxing and smiling but also syncing in tune with the world around me. I saw real colors, heard real noise, felt the sun’s warmth and the wind’s touch—I was part of the universe as it was part of me.
Secondly, I realized how I missed out on the life happening around me. How little do I really need to feel again and how everything ceases to exist the minute I rely on my phone for entertainment. Granted, it’s a cheap distraction (well, not really if we take in consideration the monthly phone bill, but that’s another subject for another time) that sucks everyone in around us, with no exception. Each day we become more and more robotized and detached. And it got me thinking: where are we heading?