I’ve been going to physical therapy twice a week, for about an hour and 15 minutes each visit, for the last month or so. The place I go to isn’t like any other PT office I’ve ever gone to or heard about; it’s full of mostly professional baseball players and competitive gymnasts, all of the guys that work there are super laid back and joke around with each other all day long, and they’re constantly making Alexa play the most ridiculous music so they can tell the most ridiculous stories about the most ridiculous things.
I love going there.
But, in some other ways, it’s a lot like what it is in other PT offices: people hooked up to muscle stim for 10 minutes at a time, heating muscles in preparation for different treatments, or other things that have them sitting on tables with nothing really to do for small amounts of time here and there.
And, what are 99% of them doing while they sit there? They’ve got their heads dropped and they’re doing something on their phones.
I get it. I used to be one of them. So, I’m not trying to go all judgmental on them, but since I’m in the middle of this whole Bergeron Cell Phone Challenge it’s all so unavoidable to me.
I not only see it all in front of me, but I also see how many opportunities to connect with other people are being wasted and missed because people’s default when they are given more than 15-20 seconds to sit with nothing to do is grab their phone and start scrolling.
Again, I get it. Because, even though I’m trying to win this whole challenge, I’m also sitting there wondering what the hell to do with myself while I stim and wondering if people think I’m weird sitting there staring at the walls instead of my phone.
Yesterday, I decided to use the time to strike up a conversation with the intern who was standing near me waiting for his next random job. I asked him about his sweatshirt that said “Paleo Nick” on it. He went on to tell me about this incredible trip to Alaska he took on a float plane to get to some resort where he was on a staff that prepared 5-star meals and went on long hikes around beautiful blue glaciers. He showed me pictures and told me the coolest stories about his trip that made his face light up in a way I hadn’t seen yet in the month that I’ve been in the same room with him twice a week for an hour each time.
And, none of that incredible 5 minute conversation would have happened if I had chosen to turn to my phone to check my Instagram feed instead of ask this guy about his sweatshirt.
I would argue that the same opportunities exist in doctors waiting rooms, in line at the grocery store, and when you’re sitting outside your kids’ ballet studio during her hour long class.
It’s more obvious that you’re missing out when you’re on your phone while you’re out to dinner with your significant other or sitting in a car with your friends or co-workers. But, those very same moments are happening when you’re around total strangers, too.
And, you never know what any of those opportunities could be the start of.