Three Smart Phones and the Sounds of Silence


First published on May 17, 2016. Here it is again–slightly edited.

Last Tuesday morning a couple walked into the restaurant where Herb and I were having coffee. They sat down at a nearby table; the waitress took their order, the man pulled out his cell phone and began texting—maybe emailing. For the next five minutes, she sat silent as stone, staring into the middle distance.

After a few more minutes, a second phone in his pocket rang. He took it out, spoke briefly to the caller and then returned to the  business of the first phone.

Finally, she took her phone from her bag and started scrolling. I kept my eye on them, fascinated by a real-life example of what I have been reading about in a compelling and disturbing book, Reclaiming Conversation: the Importance of Talk in the Digital Age by Sherry Turkel.

After twenty minutes, we finished our coffee and left. Not a word had been exchanged between them. I don’t know how two people who are so uninterested in each other could maintain a relationship much less a marriage for long. As someone who has remained happily married ( for a long, looong time—65 years and counting), I am here to tell you this is not the way you do it.

5 thoughts on “Three Smart Phones and the Sounds of Silence

  1. BRAVO!! My sentiments as well. I have encountered a similar scenario in various other instances. I find this digital age to be the epidemic of today’s society.


  2. I love your blog and today, this one rang loud and clear in my inner being! I have been watching this cell phone addiction in epidemic proportions all around me. My Mother told the most important thing in a relationship is ”communication.” If we don’t talk to one another, just text, we have only a sham of a relationship!! Thanks Mary & Herb for your watchful eye and wisdom!! Love, Lindi


  3. I share your thoughts expressed here, Mary, but most of all I love hearing that you and Herb have been happily married for 65 years! Anyone can see it’s a true partnership. Kudos! Happy Valentines Day to u two sweethearts! <3<3

    Liked by 1 person

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