It’s 1985 and I’m thirteen. I’m standing in line at Disneyworld for Pirates of the Caribbean with my dad and his brother and four sisters. We’ve been in line for half an hour already and we’re only halfway through. My cousins and I are sniping at each other in the heat, toddlers are crying, the line is a sea of sweaty misery.
And then my aunt Dustie begins to sing, “When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now…” and her sisters join in with “Will you still be sending me a Valentine,” and the brothers provide the base line for “Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?” And by the time they are harmonizing, “You’ll be older tooo-ooooo…” the line is silent, listening.
At the last “When I’m 64!” they explode in applause, in what is by default a standing ovation. And this moment, more than any other, is the reason I don’t own a smartphone. Yeah, we were hot and tired and bored and it was inconvenient.
But without a screen in their pockets, Dustie and Ellen and Michael and Doug and Nancy and Dona made a hundred people clap with true delight.
Give it a try this week. Leave your phone at home. Find out what magic happens on the other side of boredom.