<b>Jonathan Wright<\/b>\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nPeople on their phones\u2014everywhere.\r\n\r\nEverywhere.\r\n\r\nAnd I mean everywhere.\r\n\r\nIt hit me with full force, with shocking clarity, a couple of weeks ago as my sons and I were leaving a local restaurant. I really shouldn\u2019t have been surprised\u2014but it seemed so surreal as to appear to be something deliberately staged.\r\n\r\nAs I scanned the restaurant while heading for the exit\u2014and believe me: I\u2019m not exaggerating\u2014nearly every single person was looking down at his or her phone. Few were conversing. Nearly all were engaged in their phones.\r\n\r\nIt was really difficult to find a table where most of the occupants were not staring down at their electronic gizmos.\r\n\r\nI was so taken aback by this striking observation that I couldn\u2019t help comment about it to the hostess at the front door as we left. Her response was one of polite resignation: yes, she had noticed it too, and yes, it\u2019s very typical these days.\r\n\r\nI might add that it\u2019s beyond simply typical\u2014it\u2019s getting worse.\r\n\r\nA lot worse.\r\n\r\nIs this what it\u2019s come to?\r\n\r\nWhen\u2019s the last time you sat down in a restaurant, waiting room, or some other public place and didn\u2019t see multiple patrons fooling with those controlling, demanding electronic devices that seemingly run our lives?\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s become nothing less than an epidemic. Nearly everywhere you go, at least half of the people are robotically staring down at their handheld devices while paying very little attention to their surroundings.\r\n\r\nThis is not a good picture.\r\n\r\nI miss the days when people in a restaurant had nothing else to do than look at the other people at their table and talk to them.\r\n\r\nI miss the days when people in a waiting room at a doctor\u2019s office or hospital read magazines or softly talked to people around them.\r\n\r\nI miss the days when people walked past each other on the sidewalk with heads up and actually greeted each other.\r\n\r\nWhat makes all this even more disturbing is the extreme likelihood that there\u2019s no turning back. Society is hopelessly and shamelessly hooked on these irresistible devices, and you know as well as I do that they\u2019re likely here to stay.\r\n\r\nTo put it simply\u2014yet hopelessly\u2014I guess we\u2019ll just have to live with them.\r\n\r\nMaybe next week I\u2019ll have something more encouraging to discuss. This certainly doesn\u2019t fit that bill.\r\n\r\nLife is too short to be staring down all the time. Look up. Look around. Enjoy the world around you. Be liberated from that despotic, never-satisfied device in your hand.\r\n\r\nStart living again.