Hello. My name is Cam, and I live in Los Angeles.
It is Valentine’s Day, 2013. My guy is out of town, so I thought it appropriate to take myself out to happy hour at my favorite Mexican Cantina. I was excited to experience the world in this way, and stimulated by the interactions that might occur. After all, I’m in my early 30’s with a charismatic attitude. As I saddled up to the bar, I realized I was one one five single parties…myself being the only female. As an act of civil human nature, I attempted eye contact, as a “Hey, it’s cool buddy…you’re alone on Valentines Day. Me too!” That’s just the kind of person I am. And then it hit me: All four of these alleged “bachelors” were balls-deep in their cell phones…completely unconnected with the world and the social opportunities around them. What a pity.
I shrugged my shoulders, laughed to myself and continued to inhale complementary chips, plus some amazing happy hour items. Maybe I was eating a little too much. The first to sit in my immediate proximity was your stereotypical bleach-blond lady. I overheard her order, and decided to comment in attempt to establish camaraderie: “Hey! The chicken tacos are pretty good! I just had one!” She responded smugly, “Oh…I’ve never had happy hour here. I’m usually here for lunch.” I’m thinking, per her self-important demeanor, she obviously works at one of the surrounding sound stage lots, and is too cool for school. “Oh nice! So you work in the area?” “Yea.” End of conversation.
So I’m into my second $3 margarita, and realizing that no one here has any interest in interacting with ANYONE! I wasn’t trying to hook up with a guy, or a girl for that matter. I wasn’t trying to do anything but have a social experience with people dining alone on this overly glorified, Hallmark Holiday. “Sorry, social media and my weather app are too interesting.” Or, ”Sorry, my job is too glamorous that I can’t have a conversation with you. You might ask questions about which celebrities I’m working with.” Unbelievable.
I thoroughly enjoyed my margaritas and mole tacos, and I hope everyone else did. But I left The Cantina feeling somewhat isolated, confused and consumed with this world of technology and self importance. Why was it so damn hard to establish SOME kind of meaningful connection on a day where single people tend to feel alone and left out?
On my walk home, I strolled past an an old bum (blaring “Little Red Corvette” by Prince on a blown out boom box) who yelled enthusiastically, “Hey Lady!! How’s your V-Day?” I smiled and answered immediately, with swagger, “Awesome! And revealing!” As if he understood he smiled knowingly, toothlessly, and gave me a thumbs up. That made me happy. This man who had no immediate access to the internet or instant messaging or a high-profile job. He had NO sense of ego, or fear of being spotted alone on this ridiculous holiday. He had the right idea: Simply reach out to your fellow man, establish SOME kind of human connection, and encourage a smile. Right on homeless guy! You were WAY more engaging and stimulating than any modern dude or production pee-on I’d encountered all night! Thank you, more than you know!!
Fellow human beings, in Los Angels and the rest of the world…Put away your cell phones!!! Overcome this convenient safety blanket, and open yourself up to random observation and interaction! Put aside your all-important careers and have a conversation! There are people and things that surpass the stimulation of that piece of technology sitting on the bar in front of you! There are beautiful things to notice and observe! You will miss life happening all around you with these convenient distractions!
I could go on and on about the social ramifications of things like smart phones, and how I should destroy mine, or fancy production jobs…but for now:
Happy Valentine’s Day World!! May your experience be very human and interactive!!
Love, with many pink and red Hallmark hearts,