I remember when I first noticed it.
I got on the elevator in the building that houses my advertising agency and pressed the elevator button for the 15th floor, just as I do every day.
Started to look at my iPhone, just as everyone does whenever they get into an elevator.
The elevator was crowded – I'm not positive about that but I had a sense that there were people all around me and someone was pushed against my right shoulder.
Then I did it. I don't know why but I took my eyes off of my iPhone and my head went up and the next thing I know my eyes met the eyes of this young woman.
She must have raised her head from her iPhone at the same time and our eyes met. Of course we were both so embarrassed that we were looking at each other even for that half a second.
Our eyes immediately went back to our iPhones. "God," I thought to myself, "I haven't seen the face of another human being in an elevator for years."
No one I know has looked at another human in an elevator for such a long time that I actually felt creepy.
"You're an addict," I said to myself. "You go to bed with your cell phone in your hand. It's the first thing you look at when you wake up in the morning. But you're not alone. There are millions out there just like you."
Then the other day as I sat in my car waiting for the light to change I took my eyes off my cell phone again. Honest, I did, I looked up and looked at the light and checked the traffic that was coming towards me.
Was this a sign that my iPhone addiction was wearing off?
Had I grown tired of reading those lurid email come-ons from young Russian women who write me every day that they can't wait to get their hot hands on my ancient, fat body?
Was I giving up on those nice folks at the Christian singles website who were determined to find me "The right Christian for you?"
Then the bling sound that my iPhone had just received a message went off.
I jumped to attention. Driving 40 miles an hour with one eye on the road and the other on my iPhone to read a message that was informing me that something called The Conga Room was inviting me to a Salsa Extravaganza with someone named Charlie Zaa.
I could only conclude I was as addicted as ever and I wondered, was the rest of the world as bad as I am?
So I came up with a test. I walked five blocks on busy New York City streets to see if I could spot one person on every street who wasn't carrying an iPhone or an iPod, or who wasn't texting or receiving a text from their millions of nearest and dearest friends.
The result? I could not find anyone on the street who didn't have an electronic device in their hand. My conclusion was the whole world is addicted to their cell phones. The cell phone is the new drug of choice.
The topper came the other night when I went to see the James Bond movie Skyfall.
When the movie was over the entire crowd pulled out the cell phones that they had been deprived from using for two whole hours, and the darkened theater looked like it had been occupied by a thousand fireflies.
I was seated in the middle of the theater and my ancient kidneys were calling to me. But I couldn't make it to the men's room because the aisles were clogged with glaze-eyed people reading their messages.
Just like those people who are so dumb they can't chew gum and walk at the same time, these people were unable to read their phone texts and walk at the same time.
If a fire had broken out they would not have moved. I imagined the last thing their eyes would see was a message about Russian hookers or Christian singles. Or a Salsa king named Charlie Zaa.
By the time I reached the men's room it was crowded with men reading email messages.
Standing against a urinal was a tall distinguished-looking man. You all know what he had in his left hand, but in his right hand he held a cell phone to his ear. In a loud voice he said, "It's a sinus infection. Give him a baby aspirin now and give me the name of your pharmacy and I will call in a prescription in the morning."
I prayed the good doctor washed his hands after he finished his business.
A thought went through my mind.
Can we get Nancy Reagan to do a campaign: "Just say no to electronic device addiction before it's too late"?
"I fear the day when technology will surpass our humanity. The world will then be populated by a generation of idiots."
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