Spring Break

My cousin’s son is in town for spring vacation this week. He texted me yesterday to see what I was up to. He is twenty-two years old, and his texts were hard for me to understand because he abbreviates everything.

It is Spring Break, 2019. That means we are all going to die.

I’m serious—sort of. A spring break in Lower Alabama, and Northwest Florida, means that a simple drive to the grocery store is a deadly tactical maneuver. Spring breakers are on the highways, and they are too busy texting to drive a car.

They steer with their knees, glancing at phones, avoiding eye-contact, texting such vital sentiments as:

“LOL! IKR?”

Today, I passed three car wrecks on the way to get my dry cleaning. Outside the vehicles stood young men and young women who were crying on officers’ shoulders, traumatized by the horrifying reality of coming scarily close to almost losing their cellphones.

Things have changed. Last week, I was in Nashville, using the public restroom in a crowded place. I entered the mens’ room to find every stall occupied.

There, standing before eight urinals were eight young men who were—I am sorry to get too personal—using their cellphones.

That poor janitor.

Sure, I know society has become technologically advanced, I’m no fool. Still, I miss the days when a fella could visit the bathroom without waiting for the guy ahead of him to finish writing an email to his boss.

My cousin’s son is in town for spring vacation this week. He texted me yesterday to see what I was up to. He is twenty-two years old, and his texts are hard for me to understand because he abbreviates everything.

“How R U,” he texted—no question mark.

“Hey!” I wrote—I took the time to add an exclamation point because that is the kind of guy I am.

He texted in reply: “WYD?”

“You’re gonna have to be a little more clear.”

“LOL! It means ‘What are you doing?’”

“I’m texting a twenty-two-year-old.”

“#Lifegoals.”

“#Whatdoesthatmean?”

“LOL! IKR?”

Give me strength, Lord.

I didn’t want to ask, but I had to. I asked him what “IKR?” meant.

“LOL!” he wrote. “It means ‘I know, right?’ Everyone uses that phrase, Sean.”

Yeah? Well my mother also had a phrase. It involved the theoretical scenario of watching your friends jump off a bridge.

This afternoon, I walked into Winn-Dixie. The place was more crowded than I have ever seen it. In the canned-vegetable aisle, I almost lost my life when the Boy With the Dragon Tattoo almost severed my achilles with his shopping cart.

He and his friends were racing shopping buggies. The boy’s race basket contained two passengers: Girl with the Spongebob Tattoo, and Sorority Sister with Eggplant-Colored Hair.

The opposing team was led by: Guy with Tackle Box Contents Embedded in His Face, and a girl who was wearing a bathing suit that was actually two RC Cola caps strategically positioned.

They rocketed past me and clipped my heel. I almost had a heart attack, but no harm was done.

Boy with the Dragon Tattoo said, “Sorry, bro! So sorry, bro! You’re not mad are you, bro?”

“Of course not,” Bro said. “Accidents happen.”

“I know right?” said the Girl with the Purple Hair, then she used her cellphone to snap a picture of me.

When I finished shopping I took my place in a long line of kids in beach clothes whose carts were piled high with the essential spring-break items like: potato chips, Spaghettios, Captain Crunch, plastic shovels and pails, Velveeta, and King James Bibles.

But something was wrong. Nobody in these shopping lines was talking to one another. It was a curious sight to behold.

Young people with their mouths closed. I declare.

Long ago, I remember spring break trips with my friends, all we did was talk. In fact, our activities were really excuses to do more talking. We talked until our voices were sore.

Not these kids. They were holding glowing screens. It was so quiet, you could have heard a lemon drop.

I felt sort of bad for the youth of America. They might not ever know the glory of casual conversation in a grocery store. Or worse, they might miss out on the exhilaration of conversation with the opposite gender.

There’s a lot to be said for the thrill of conversation. Sure, these kids might know how to abbreviate words, but I wonder if they aren’t being shorted somehow.

The cashier scanned my items. We exchanged a sympathetic glance. This poor woman has been dealing with spring breakers all day.

“How’re you holding up?” I asked.

“Actually, I’m okay,” she said. “These kids don’t say much, they just sorta play on their phones and keep quiet. Half the time they never even look away from the screen.”

The cashier read my total, I paid with cash, she handed over my receipt. We made eye-contact for a few brief moments.

“Wow,” she said. “You know, it’s funny, you’re the first customer not looking at a phone who I’ve made eye-contact with today.”

“LOL,” I said.

“IKR?” she said.

Drive safe out there.

33 comments

  1. throughmyeyesusa - March 14, 2019 7:06 am

    OMG!

    Reply
  2. Sandi in FL. - March 14, 2019 8:32 am

    Sean, it’s a sign of the times, but I’m in total agreement with you . Majority of people over age 10 cannot even use the toilet or eat a meal without a cell phone in one hand. They go into panic mode if they leave home to drive somewhere and suddenly have to turn around, backtrack and fetch their cell phone on the kitchen counter. Many teenagers date now by sitting together and texting each other when they’re not making out. Is it old-fashioned to prefer eye contact, human touch, and the sound of a person’s voice over the *bing* of a new text message?

    Reply
  3. Nell Thomas - March 14, 2019 8:38 am

    You know Sean- it’s a scary thought but some of the characters in the scene could be somebody’s parents. I hear all the time: I let so and so go ( their child) because so and so’s mother is going and said she would be right there with them every minute- Ha! But come to think about it- that could have been mom in the RC cola suit.
    I heard a story regarding “Spring Break” just yesterday that blew my mind.
    Maybe the hurricane will be over soon.

    Reply
  4. marisafranca - March 14, 2019 10:20 am

    So True!!

    Reply
  5. Debbie Phillips Hughett - March 14, 2019 10:45 am

    Hieroglyphics are making a come back, also. 👁 💖 this
    one. 🤗😂👏👍

    Reply
  6. Jo Brooks - March 14, 2019 11:14 am

    Sad but funny and definitely true.

    Reply
  7. Cathi - March 14, 2019 11:15 am

    I’m too old to keep up. I spend a lot of time laughing nervously and looking at people suspiciously when they speak in code or in hieroglyphs.

    Reply
  8. Camille - March 14, 2019 11:32 am

    LMAO!

    Reply
  9. Carl Wagner - March 14, 2019 11:46 am

    I second Jo Brooks.

    Reply
  10. LeAnne - March 14, 2019 11:48 am

    So good on so many levels. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Xan - March 14, 2019 11:57 am

    ROTFL!

    Reply
  12. Joyce Bacon - March 14, 2019 12:04 pm

    IKR LOL

    Reply
  13. Debbie - March 14, 2019 12:45 pm

    ROTFLMBO😂
    #talknottext
    #seantellsitlikeitis

    Reply
  14. Martha - March 14, 2019 12:56 pm

    AMEN – AMEN AND AMEN !!! And not all of them are spring breakers 😉

    Reply
  15. Susan from Wausau - March 14, 2019 12:59 pm

    So very sad that our young folks, and some not so young can’t look at each other and have a conversation. It appears so rude to me, but I talk to everyone. Don’t you think we’re in danger of losing a very special connection with one another? Some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met were standing in line at the store.

    Love your stories and your humor!

    Reply
  16. Judy - March 14, 2019 1:08 pm

    This is one of your best!

    Reply
  17. Catherine - March 14, 2019 1:24 pm

    GLHF!! 😉

    Reply
  18. Edna B. - March 14, 2019 1:48 pm

    I totally agree with you about the younger generations and their phones. If this is progress, we screwed up somewhere. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  19. Jess in Athens, GA - March 14, 2019 1:57 pm

    I saw the beginning of the “don’t talk” trend about six or seven years ago when my wife and I were eating at a casual restaurant. We had been seated for a while when a relatively young couple came in and sat at a nearby booth. The woman was probably in her twenties and he was a few years older than her. They both had their phones out looking intently at the screen. I didn’t see them exchange a word the entire time we were in the restaurant. I noticed that she was a very attractive woman…and my wife noticed that I noticed much to my regret, but I was able to talk my way out of that jam. Back to the present: my thirteen year old grandson came over this morning and he’s now upside down in my recliner, looking at his freaken phone. He might speak a few words to me sometime today….like: Hey, Papa, do you have anything to eat in the house?” I’ll feed him something and then I won’t hear from him again for hours. Maybe this don’t talk thingy isn’t all that bad.

    Reply
  20. Ann M Syfert - March 14, 2019 4:23 pm

    Catherine, I just had to look up GLHF. So GLHF, Sean!!!! LOL!!!!

    Reply
  21. kathleenivy - March 14, 2019 4:47 pm

    RALMAO!!!! (Rolling around laughing my ass off.) I work at a university … where it is spring break all the time EXCEPT during spring break. And you speak truth here.

    Reply
  22. Shelton A. - March 14, 2019 5:13 pm

    Distracted driving is an epidemic. Yesterday, a woman in a black Chevy made the attempt to pass me in the left lane 3-4 times. When she finally did, she had an iPad (or one of the MS versions) in her lap leaning against the steering wheel, and she would look up and drive, then look down and tap. Pathetic. My daughter takes so many selfies (why-forgotten how you look today?) and pictures of others, it’s ridiculous. Heaven forbid I try and call her…texting is much the preferred method of communication. The art of conversation is dying, I think.

    Reply
  23. Connie - March 14, 2019 8:03 pm

    I am LOL. Love this post.

    Reply
  24. Anne P. - March 14, 2019 9:02 pm

    Sean you always make me smile and often laugh hysterically and occasionally cry. But today you did all of these thing and educated me too. Lol. I have been wondering what some of those abbreviation meant! Keep them coming ( your posts) make my day every day!!

    Reply
  25. Estelle Sexton Davis - March 14, 2019 9:35 pm

    Remember when flying to the moon was since fiction. Well I read a story about a man and woman who met on the Internet. The lived in houses that were side by side. People at that time did all their communication thru the computer. So they decided to meet each other but when they got to their doors each was afraid to go outside. So they turned around,went back to their computers to say hello. They had not been outside in so many years they were afraid to open their door. Science fiction is arriving. 😱 It really is sad. But
    I LOVE THE THINGS YOU WRITE ABOUT.

    Reply
  26. theholtgirls - March 14, 2019 10:57 pm

    This new Grandmama has a rule in our Grand House: NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES, and the most fun ever. You want cookies – we gotta make them. From scratch. 🙂
    Thanks for your observations!

    Reply
  27. Ruth in AL - March 15, 2019 12:03 am

    I can’t even think what to say because this makes me so sad. It would be funny if it just happened sometimes, but this is all I see. What saddens me most are the young children who want their young parents attention and are not getting it. Momma and Daddy are too busy on their phones. This is one reason so many of them misbehave. At least it gets someone to look at them. I can’ t even imagine 20 years from now; it has changed so much in the last 20.

    Reply
  28. Charaleen Wright - March 15, 2019 4:48 am

    Reply
  29. Chuck Gerlach - March 15, 2019 1:52 pm

    While I don’t think it was intentional, the Apple Smartphone created an entirely new culture – and, for the most part, not a good thing. One of my grandkids (14) has her phone in her hand constantly! So very sad. (And most adults are not much better)

    One of our friends just has a “no phone zone” party where all phones had to be deposited in a basket at the door. They said it was the very best party they had held in many years. What a mess we have created.

    Reply
  30. Melanie - March 15, 2019 6:30 pm

    HA! This is so good! Stay safe Coastal Friends! Watch out for Spring Breakers and abbreviations!🤣

    Reply
  31. Ruth in AL - March 16, 2019 2:09 pm

    Just heard a report on what the waves from these cellphones and other devices are doing to brains. Scary!

    Reply
  32. Gale Smith - April 11, 2019 2:44 pm

    To paraphrase something I read recently: ” Cell phones make people feel less lonely. They also make people feel important.” Neither is true.

    Reply
  33. Chuck-Betty Gentry Holmes - April 11, 2019 4:20 pm

    So sad and true. My husband and I have flip cell phones, but only for talking – we do not text and we do not need a phone that is smarter than we are. Some of our friends aren’t happy with this, but if they have something to say – they can call us. We do not have children or grandchildren, so we do not have to play that game. We go out to eat and see families sitting together and they are all on their phones. So sad. We have conversations with each other all the time! We love talking to each other and our friends (when they aren’t texting). Love your stories Sean!

    Reply

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