My family recently joined a gym. I tend to primarily use the free weights. “Back in the day,” you could often pair up with a gym buddy and spot one another on the bench etc. If not, it was no big deal to simply ask someone for a “quick spot.” However, glancing around the gym, it seems everyone has a set of earplugs in and is “tuned out.” Thus, in order to so much as ask someone for that quick spot, I have to get their attention, have them pull a plug, and, then actually ask them a question – face-to-face, in-person. I am reluctant to do this. I feel as if I am crossing some indistinct line.
Is it just me, or are we increasingly walking around in personal cocoons that, on some level, send a message “leave me alone”? More importantly, as generations grow up never having experienced life without these isolating appendages, are we losing something? Is our ability to interact as a society being affected? And what about people who are already challenged to interact with others? Are not these portable isolation systems little electronic enablers?
I wonder how Temple Grandin would have fared had her mother just let he plug in and fade away. What is the potential impact of a lifetime of being able to tune out to those with tendencies toward, or somewhere on, the autism spectrum? Could it perhaps be, well, crippling?