Conversation before smart phones:
“I wonder what the population of Iceland is?” “Dunno. I don’t even know what the population of Oakland is. I’m pretty bad with those kind of numbers. Why are you wondering about the population of Iceland, anyway?!” “Hmm…I guess because there was so much traffic on the way home and I was feeling like it would be so wonderful to spend some time up in the mountains ‘away from it all’, but even in the mountains I have to hike for hours or days to actually be alone, which just got me wondering where you can find actual solitude these days, and Iceland popped into my head.” “Is Iceland part of Greenland?” “No, I’m pretty sure they’re different countries.” “On a sort of related but not really note – did you read the article about the Iceman mummy they found in France?” “Yea – perfectly preserved. Someone ought to make a movie about him.” “Hey, good idea. Not about making a movie, but how about going to the movies tonight?”
Conversation after smart phones:
“I wonder what the population of Iceland is?” Brief pause…”334,303.”
I do worry about the lack of wondering these days. With cell phones, those random questions that pop into our heads can be answered in a flash. Which, when I am looking for a phone number or an address is amazing and wonderful. But when the question itself is not really the point, but is in fact the outward manifestation of some deeper musing, the quick smart phone answer cuts off that line of inquiry. Sometimes these kinds of conversations are simply mildly amusing. Other times, they actually take us into some unexpected and interesting/challenging/creatively juicy territory.
So, next time your friend or loved one asks you “I wonder where the phrase ‘by and large’ comes from?”, try wondering about it before you reach for your cell phone (I bet you wanted to reach for it – didn’t you?!). Wonder more – it’s good for your brain, your imagination, your relationships.
Photo Credit: “Wonder” by WesleyGrim – https://flic.kr/p/dC7wWm