It has come to my attention recently that our properties in life have drastically changed from when I was younger. And I don’t mean my properties as a kid have changed as I’ve grown, I’m talking in terms of time. Our priorities are vastly different than they were a decade ago, or two, or three. Things that were once not very important, like social media and status updates, have now taken over our lives. We put so much importance into these things and for what?

I read a fantastic article on recently about priority changes in restaurants. A busy NYC restaurant had noticed a rise in negative customer reviews and had hired a team to investigate the problem. To summarize, the reason there were more negative reviews in 2014 than in 2004 was because customers spent a huge amount of time on their phones at the table. From the minute they were seated, to the check being brought to the table, customers were bothering their waiters over WiFi presence in the restaurant, taking selfies, taking food pics, texting, blogging, reviewing, etc. And because of this huge priority that these customers had made of their time spent on cellphones, the food got cold, time was taken from the waiter to assist his other tables, the wait times increased because people weren’t looking at the menus, or taking a long time to eat due to pauses to text,  and bad reviews were written as a result. The majority of these bad reviews had nothing to do with the restaurant going down hill after 10 years, but because of the priority change of people these days and the importance they put on their phones. I really suggest everyone take a gander at that article. It’s very eye opening.

The truth of the matter is that I am also a culprit of the “restaurant text”. I review restaurants and businesses for YELP, so I take pics of my food, the menus etc. But I tend to do it as quickly as possible, and I certainly don’t write the reviews there, or send out suggestion texts to my friends. That usually is it though. I’m not a fan of leaving my phone on the table while eating, no text or call is that important where I can’t eat my meal in peace, or disrespect my companion.

Everyone knows me as being a bit OCD, and anal retentive. I just don’t understand why you need your phone at the table. What happened to us as a society? And when did this obsession with our cellphones really  take off? I got my first cell phone when I was 18, my mom bought it for me when I started college. These days I see kids as young as five walking around with phones. Why does a five year old need a phone? If you can’t keep track of your kid, that’s not their fault, that’s just lazy parenting. It’s like those parents that put leashes on their children like they are dogs. Seeing that is the visual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me.

The worst is when people have to pick up their phone in the car. We have all these laws not about not texting while driving, or talking on phone, or using our GPS. But, fair enough, it’s your car, your phone. If you can’t wait til you’re pulled over to check your phone, that’s your prerogative. Texting your significant other, or sending an email, or watching a YouTube video while driving is up to you. But when someone else is in your car, and you do these things…. you’re basically saying “this text message is more important than your life”.

According to Don’t Text & Drive,1.6 million auto crashes a year involve cellphones. Of that statistic, half a million injuries are caused, and six thousand lives are taken. Six Thousand Lives! Because it was just sooooo important to text back right away. Or to answer the phone. Or to take a selfie while driving…

That is horrifying. What has happened to our priorities? When did our cellphones become more important than our own lives? When did status updates and social media become more important than human interaction?

If you’ve been to a Chili’s recently then you will have noticed the device that adorns their tabletops now. It’s a machine that you can order from, play games on, watch tv on, and even pay your bill. So, technically you can wipe out all human interaction altogether. You see these tables with parents and their kids… the kids are watching tv on this machine, and both parents are texting on their cellphones. Forgive me, but I thought the point of going out to eat was to enjoy social interaction, to get away from the tv and Xbox, and to spend time with each other…

Apparently not.

Our priorities are so fucked up, I don’t think we even realize how bad it has become. We are putting so much unnecessary energy into the wrong things.

I was yelled at the other day for something I put on social media. Someone was offended because they read on my social media page that I started a fundraiser to help me financially. They were mad because they read it on my Facebook and that I hadn’t told them in person. Well, to be honest, I hadn’t told them only because they hadn’t  returned my call. I’d called a few times over the course of four days, because at that point my fund had only been active that long. Yet no call back. No return of human interaction. I reached out, they did not. And yet, it was acceptable in their mind to call me only to yell at me for a status update? What part of that makes any sense?

Priorities… I wasn’t enough of one in their world to return a few phone calls. But they were angry that I wasn’t basically stalking them to tell them the news? That’s ridiculous.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that the state of Hawaii is doing nothing for its citizens that are ill with no income. There’s absolutely no housing for disabled people who are  ill, but still mobile. What options are there for those of us who don’t have a place to live because we are too sick to work?  There’s none! And yet, as I speak, they’re putting up 5 new high rise’s in Kaka’ako, like we have so many people living here that can afford multi-million dollar ocean view apartments.

In Hawaii Kai, they are currently building an “affordable housing rental complex”, that will be open to low income housing renters. What they don’t tell you though, is it will only be available to rent for a short period of time, before it’s opened up on the market for purchase. And guaranteed those purchase prices won’t be “affordable”. That’s how all these low income housing apartment buildings work. They are only “affordable” for a limited time.

Priorities… society is going to hell in a handbag. Our priorities seriously concern me. Something has to change. We have to change. And baby steps just aren’t going to cut it.

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