iPhone Sea: A Digital Age Observed at Sunset
February 9, 2017
Grasping a moment of stillness in the midst of an ever-changing social and emotional state is a sensation that has proven itself to be a rarity to me. Even when a free afternoon arises, my mind finds itself searching for better, more productive things that I could be doing; the new world of responsibility and independence is one scarier than a child-like liberation could have imagined.
But last night, a deep, reflective breath echoed in the silence of a quiet moment, and, suddenly, all was still.
Sitting in the car alone, a new privilege that I still find to be an out-of-body experience, parked on the ridge above Butterfly Beach.
Even though it’s a haven a mere ten minutes away, I resent myself for the fact that I don’t take advantage of this spot more often, and assume that its presence is constant and guaranteed– a thought that will be regretted after I inevidently have to move away from this heavenly city.
I didn’t understand why I’d driven to the beach– but I was instantly thankful that I had. A muddled lilac sky swirled overhead, and the golden sun cast an wintery warmth over the pulsing seaside. Dogs flung themselves into the waves while their owners, runny nose-d and rosy cheek-ed, chuckled under their winter armor.
But something about this picture was wrong– blatantly distracting and disruptive. It was devastatingly apparent that every couple, wanderer, tourist, and beach-goer under the age of twenty-five had the immediate need to share this breath-taking sunset with the world.
Everyone needed to see the heavenly clouds. Everyone needed to know how much fun they were having. And every one obviously wanted to see their ambiently-lit sunset selfie, because, who wouldn’t?
So, in addition to the golden sunlight that reflected off the indigo waves, a sea of another kind washed over the beach; one comprised of blank faces staring at their phones.
I was appalled. How could they be looking at their phones while, overhead, one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen was surrounding this moment. The moment was now consumed with my frustration at these people. I could no longer focus on the sunset, because my mind couldn’t handle how many people were looking at it through a camera.
Could an iPhone camera capture the angelic, golden lining around the Michaelangelo-esque tufts above? Could it detect the saltiness of the breeze that was creating goosebumps up my legs? Could it feel the rock of the waves, whose constant rhythm never faltered, never ceased, and rocked away– its stuttering whisper heard silently above all else.
The media-age is upon us, and it’s not moving. So whether one loses themselves in the virtual bustle or not is up to the individual. Just, please, remember– some things just don’t need to be shared; whether it be a sunset, a family vacation, a walk on the beach, or a concert.
Not every experience needs to be shared– ultimately, you’ll regret not mentally being there, and only having a still memory of that past moment to reflect on.