At LAX and airports across the country, large numbers of travelers stranded for hours by flight delays and cancellations immediately turned to their cell phones, iPads and laptops for solace.
It wasn’t that way for my family on Saturday driving back from Phoenix. We suddenly came to a halt west of Desert Center on the I-10 with traffic backed up as far as the eye could see for 20 miles or more.
An SUV had flipped over and slammed into a Border Patrol car, blocking both westbound lanes for what was several hours for those closest to the accident..
We were three miles back and like everyone in the cars around us jumped on our cellphones to see if we could find out what had happened and how long it might take before we got moving again.
No luck. No connection in the middle of the Mojave.
After a while and still in the dark about our situation, people got out of their cars and trucks and started talking to each other.
The grumbling about the disruption soon gave way to gallows humor about dying of thirst in the desert or having to go to the bathroom in front of hundreds of people.
By then, everyone was laughing and talking about their trips and getting to know one another, bonding into a community created by our shared pain that got worse as we watched several dozen trucks and SUVs race pass us on a dirt road about a half mille north of the freeway.
We were stuck for well over an hour but wound up having a good time.
The moral of the story is we all need to disconnect. We are slaves to electronic devices, be they phones, computers, TVs or whatever. We are wired to avatars of real people, living hermit-like lives alone with our gadgets.
Is it any wonder we’re having such a hard time getting along with each other and building healthy communities?