One of our leading English dailies had an interesting quote once. It said that “Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than at each other…”
How True! Try visiting a friend. You may land up standing at his doorstep furiously ringing the doorbell. You do hear the sounds of conversation and laughter inside but no one to welcome you; everyone inside, including your best friend, thinks the sound is coming from the idiot box in front.
The idiot box, happy to have such an absorbed audience, is screaming at the top of its decibel limit ….
You ring again, and inside, your friend and family are slightly puzzled because the scene in front, which could be two lovers running around snow capped trees, does not suggest a door bell sound …
You ring again: No response. You wonder, could something be amiss, have bandits tied them up! Could they have been kidnapped or horror of horrors, murdered? You ring frantically …
Inside your friend suddenly realizes what the sound is. He frowns. The family frowns. He nods to his youngest, who nods to his mother, who nods to her eldest, who nods to the housemaid hiding behind the curtain.
You ring the doorbell again and are just going to call a passing cop, when you feel the door being thrown open, but there’s no one at the door. The maid, with no intention of missing even a single scene has in one motion, unbolted the latch and rushed back.
You walk in and wonder what deathly act or dastardly crime awaits your eyes inside. Sounds and laughter continue, and stealthily you move, ready to hit any intruder rushing out.
With a single movement of your body, not too well coordinated with your aged legs and once agile hands, you jump into the living room, and freeze!
For a moment, just a split second, the family shifts their eyes away from the TV screen and looks at you … expressionless!
You, foolishness written all over your face, smile in apology at your James Bond act, clear your throat to say sorry, and realize each one, your friend included, has shifted their eyes back to the hero or heroine on the screen!
There is not even a frown of annoyance, not a scowl of disapproval!
As far as all concerned, you do not exist.
Once it was the TV screen that held sway, but today more and more it’s the cellphone that produces the same effect! You are another of a long line of victims who have lost their battle against technology..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org