Really Close: To People Who Aren¬â„t Actually Here.

Yesterday I was catching a flight and saw Joe Piscatella. He writes on heart healthiness and I’ve interviewed him throughout my career, starting here in Seattle when I was on radio KING 1090 (then a talk format).

Though we were standing right next to each other waiting to board, he didn’t see me and I didn’t say a word to him because he was on his cell phone. He timed the call so it would end just as we were ready to board and then when he hung up and saw me we talked all the way until we got to our seat assignments.

Cell phones mean we can stay connected to people we know, but it is often at the expense of an actual human standing right next to us. I cringe very time I see a mom or dad driving along while talking on a cell phone instead of conversing with their kid(s) sitting silently next to them in the car.

American Idol fans received a jolt when Mario Vazquez departed the show, but some were relieved because it meant Nikko Smith is back. I haven’t watched the show this year so I have no connection to these guys, but one of my friends said he was “distressed” when Smith was voted off, but “will really miss Vazquez too.” Wait a minute–what does it mean to connect emotionally with people we haven’t actually met?These days, travelers are more likely to hole up in a hotel room watching their favorite “reality TV” show than to get out and meet real people.

Robert Puttnam identified our increasing human isolation in his book “Bowling Alone.” When we talk on the cell phone or watch TV we are connecting, but when it replaces talking with people in-person I think we are also disconnecting at a deeply human level.

I think some of our societal malaise and nagging loneliness is due to our failure to connect with real people in-person while replacing it with a connection to people who aren’t in the room.

It is not good for humans to be alone.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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