I think I good test if you’re a millennial is, if a bear tries to get into your house, is your first reaction to scream and protect your toddler or take a selfie with it?
I chose the first and my friends on social media and off made fun of me which I think says a lot more about them than it does about me.
To recap, the toddler and I were just finishing up lunch on Tuesday when I heard a tap on our patio door behind me and turned to discover a HUGE FREAKING BEAR up against the glass. I screamed which seemed to freak the bear out and it lumbered off in a hurry.
Bears from a distance? Fine. Bears actively trying to get into my house? Not cool. The extra weird part was that there were a TON of people outside because my next door neighbor was moving out (and I live in a condo so their yard is our yard) so the place was noisy with people, trucks and whatnot. I’m no bear expert but for a bear to come that close to the house when all those people around seems weird, doesn’t it?
Anyway, I relayed this story to my friends and family and I got the same questions over and over.
- No, my windows were not open. Everything was closed because the air conditioner was on.
- No, I don’t know where the bear went next. He rudely didn’t leave a forwarding address.
- I have no idea what kind of bear it was. We didn’t exchange pleasantries.
But, of course, the most popular question of all was…
- Why didn’t you take a picture? (or selfie)
Uh, because, call me old fashioned, but when I got over the shock of being face to face with a bear actively trying to get into my house, my first thought was removing my child from danger? Taking a picture never even occurred to me which made me realize how smartphone culture has made so many people require photographic proof in order to take a story as true. But, moreover, it made me fear for a world in which people’s first instinct is to go for the shareable proof, the thing that will get them the likes and the attention, instead of what’s smart or safe in that instance.
Is that what this is? Or is it a simple lack of empathy? An inability to put yourself in that situation and realize that, of course your primal reaction is going to be fear and flight and not Facebook? I don’t actually own a smartphone so I don’t really know. But it did make me think. Because, while I may someday get a smartphone, I do NOT want to become that person, that opts for the selfie over safety, especially not as a parent.
What do you think? Has smartphone culture really changed our instincts that much or is it more talk than reality?