Tag Archives: texting

An Expectation of Privacy

May June 2013 063

There are a great many things I expect. I expect that I will develop more wrinkles on my face. I expect that the sun will shine one day. I expect to overcome many problems in my life but not all of them. I do not expect privacy when I’m outside my home.

In this day and age it is the height of hubris to think that’s no one is watching. I don’t understand why people get so huffy when there is talk of making use of cameras on the streets. The idea is to catch people who are running red lights or are committing other infractions on the street. Why exactly are you afraid? What is it that you are doing that you don’t want to be noticed? Picking your nose is not a crime but it would be unseemly to find it posted on YouTube. So there is an uproar about a government agency designed to protect us watching, but no one cares about the teenybopper with a camera phone.

Any government agency that uses electronics has protocols and restrictions that they must follow. Teddy and Sally have no one looking over their shoulders when they take that picture of you with your fly open. Who exactly are you trusting? I do question the wisdom of relying on an adolescent’s sense of humour. If Big Brother wants to watch my every move when I am outside my home, go for it! Hopefully I will provide you with a chuckle and perhaps a break from a strenuous day.

Privacy is a concept that we don’t actually have the right to. When we were children our parents kept tabs on us for our own protection. In the ensuing years other authority figures have endeavoured to ensure that we were allowed to live our lives as we saw fit. Yes, we must conform to the laws of the land and to societal mores. But for the most part our choices are our own. There is however one snake in the grass:   technology.

We have phones that can take exceptional pictures at a distance without the intended knowing. We have computers that look right back at us as we enjoy surfing the net. Don’t get me wrong, technology has made my life much, much easier but at what cost? You can walk into any cafeteria full of students and there is an eerie silence. Many of the students have their heads bent over, their hands furiously texting to someone who is sitting two feet away. And no one seems to be too disturbed by this?

Are we loosing the ability to chat with another? I remember the casual repartee that some people were exceptionally good at. I remember getting to know people, hearing their voice with the nonverbal communication that went with the conversation. Is technology about to rob us of the tradition of conversing? I certainly hope not!

I love to talk. It’s no fun only talking to one’s self. At least not for long periods of time. I believe we’re all better people when we can share who and what we are with others. That’s why we are called ‘people’. “United we stand, Divided we fall.” Turn to a stranger and say hello, that’s how friends begin.

Whoa! Did you see that?


Look around yourself, look at other people near you.  Some are in their cars isolated from the world hell-bent for leather to get somewhere.  Some are walking on the sidewalk heads down fingers furiously texting.  Texting!  10 years ago was that even a word?  I don’t know how many times I’ve almost been run down by someone texting.  A noun becomes a verb.  I know there are horrible things going on in the world around us.  I know that there is ugliness everywhere you look.  But I also know that there is incredible beauty and incredible heroism all around us. I think too many people are missing something.

The saying used to be: “stop and smell the roses”.  Now I think it should be: “lift your head and  notice the world”.   Have we become so jaded so not in tune with the world that we are incapable of seeing the beauty that is all around us?  The other day I noticed an elderly couple holding hands and smiling at each other.  I thought how lucky they are!  They can see each other.  I watch children laughing and playing with a ball and I wonder how long their innocence will last.  All too soon they’ll be introduced to the evils of texting.  And soon they too will become isolated.  How long will it take before we become a world of individuals with no personal interaction with each other?

We need to stop.  We need to look around and notice each other.  We are not a species that does well without others of our kind.  We need to notice the beauty of a flower or a finely constructed poem.  We also need to notice each other.  We are in this journey together and those who journey with us contribute to who we will become.  Because we are not done becoming who we will be.  Hopefully the journey will be overflowing with wonders and excitement and that we will actually notice.