Last year I went on my first cruise with my family. On the last night of the cruise my daughter got massively sick at 4 AM. Unable to go back to sleep after getting her settled I decided to take a walk around the ship; we would be de-boarding soon and I was sort of curious what the mini-floating-world would look like that early (especially on the last day). I was expecting a lot of tired children with Type A parents sitting at breakfast trying to stay awake so they could reach the car per their detailed schedule. Instead I found a closed breakfast buffet and a handful of men all sitting around looking at their cellphones.
I had noticed that my phone had chirped to life during the elevator ride to the 11th floor – finally within range of a cellphone tower and out of the deep interior of the ship it started its soft little symphony of text messages, work notifications, application updates, and social media “alerts”.
The men I found seated at tables (1 per table facing the same direction like an odd morning commute) didn’t have sick children who had awoken them at 4 AM like I had. They also didn’t have their families with them. They were all staring blankly at their phones and slowly scrolling through all those notifications. Not really knowing what to do since there were no pancakes to be eaten like I hoped I also sat down and pulled my phone out. Per usual whenever any modern person has a few spare moments I assumed the default behavior – slowly scrolling with my right hand. News outside the network of things that actually affect me, work emails, photos and funny sayings, pictures of cats and babies – all scrolling past in a slow scroll.
I then stopped, stared blankly for a minute, and simply thought: What in the everlasting crap am I doing?
To want to leave the comfort of family and vacation a few hours early to catch up with work: this is the behavior of an addict. I stood up and rode the elevator back to my softly sleeping family.