by Kelly Ann Beaton

Got a minute? A person called to me as I passed him on the sidewalk. He was standing there with a clip board. I don’t know what it was for, because I didn’t stop.

I have been thinking about why I didn’t stop for the past few days. Was I late for an appointment? No. Was I going to miss my bus? No again. Did I have a more pressing matter? And that would be another no. So why didn’t I stop.

It seems that everyday, we are interrupted. Interrupted by beeps, bells, vibrations that scream for our attention. We seem to always give in to devices, yet when a person asks for a minute, we keep walking.

In our fast paced world, there is a strange sense of relief that we find by connecting with each other through a device, instead of face to face. We e-mail. We text. We update our status on facebook and collect friends all over the world simply because they ask us with a message. Twitter asked us a question - "What are you doing?" and we replied by the millions in 140 characters or less.

With our increased reliance on devices, I often think about 2001: A Space Odyssey and HAL 9000. A device that was ranked #13 on a list of greatest film villains of all time on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. Although, the voice of HAL 9000 was performed by Canadian actor Douglas Rain. – so it can’t be all bad ☺

Not to suggest that your iPhone or Blackberry is plotting to get rid of you, it is only to serve as a reminder that the next time someone asks me if I got a minute, I will say yes.


  1. I saw an interesting segment on a news show about this - the reporter asked a young woman who was a self-professed online maven - to shut down all of her "gear" and go out side and try to meet 10 people and ask them the same questions you might ask someone online - i.e. What do you do? Where do you live? etc... it was very tough for her. People kept walking by and shaking their heads. Makes you think.

  2. I always pass by the people on the street who ask me if I have a minute - because they're not trying to connect, they want you to donate to *insert organization here*.

    I leave the chatting-face-to-face to people like my co-worker, who adores meeting the Coffee Guy, the Ferry Terminal Ticket Taker, the Bus Driver, and finding out all about them. Me - not so much. I don't want to know who Coffee Guy is. I just want my coffee.

  3. I came to visit Chirons May 1 post and decided to stay and read... I liked your post and totaly enjoyed the pictures... I remember Hal and 2001 A space odessy... guess that kind of dates me lol. I think we communicate more with electronics because we have total control of the conversation. We don't (usually) say things impulsivly then embarras ourselves, people can't see our faces turn red or for that matter even identify us so we are more free to respond without consequences for the most part.

  4. Interesting post, Kelly Ann! The Today show did a segment a year or so ago following a man who they asked to give up his cell phone and Internet for a week. By about day 2, he was literally in tears. Online communities can be surprisingly supportive sometimes, but nothing beats human interaction (unless, of course, it's a serial killer asking you for a minute!).


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