A few weeks ago, I sent an email to a middle-aged woman with: ‘PFA, thanks, Lucia.’ She didn’t reply the mail. Instead she called me.
‘Madam, what is PFA? Where is the document I asked for?’
“It means ‘Please Find Attached’, ma,” I explained and she sighed.
I felt so sorry, when she added ‘you millennials just keep making life difficult for us. When we think we’ve learnt something you people invent something new.’
I am not even in the habit of sending official emails with social media lingua, it was just one of those I cannot come and go and kill myself days.
A few weeks before this PFA incident, I sat by an elderly woman in Church. When it was time for the readings, the projector began to misbehave. I really wanted to follow the readings because I tend to drift off in church, So, I brought out my phone, and opened my missal app. I could feel the woman’s disapproving eyes burning into my face, but she didn’t say anything.
When it was time for offertory, the choir announced the hymn they were singing from. I didn’t know the verse 2, and like I said, I wanted to be present at the Mass and participate so I whipped out my phone again, opened my hymn app and began singing along. The elderly woman was having none of it this time, she shifted close to me and shoved her hymn book into my hands, ‘here, keep that phone, use this one.’
I laughed and decided to use her hymn book.
Towards the end of the Mass during the time for thanksgivings she began to talk to me, ‘why are you young people so addicted to your phones? Everything you do with your phone. Why not buy bulletin or missal, or hymn book instead of using your phone in church?’
I explained to her how having those church apps means I can pray, sing, read readings for the day at any time and place.
‘So, whenever you open the hymn app you can just see the hymn book? Everything?’
I nodded, then showed her the hymn book. She was fascinated, and asked me to put the hymn on her phone. I used Xender. She was amazed again, ‘so you just threw it from your phone into mine?’
Yup, something like that. She thanked me and added ‘but you people should still have a life off this your phone. Every time pressing phone!’
By the time Mass ended she had the hymn, missal and daily prayers app. She was happy but as I went home that day I was a bit sad. It is a two way thing. Our lives are really being controlled by our smart phones. I and a couple of friends are trying to wean ourselves off the phone addiction. I have tried to actually live outside off social media by un-installing addictive apps like twitter, Instagram. But two weeks later I would be back there.
I depend on the phone for most of my brain work- ask google to make shopping list, remind me to do stuff and every damn thing. When I can’t pronounce or spell a word instead of me to try to break it down and attempt, I ask google. It’s really scary the way we depend on the internet so I try every day to live off the internet.
What did we do before the internet? How did we have fun? Fill up free time? Don’t get me wrong the internet has done a lot more good than bad but sometimes it just feels like we are zombies in a video game.
One the other hand, the group of people who ask us to ‘put’ bible app on their phone, teach them how to use a basic smart phone, who believe silly broadcast messages on WhatsApp are the generation of people ruling Nigeria. They don’t even know how the world works anymore but they are holding on to power, insisting on the old ways. Robots are delivering food to hotel rooms in some parts of the world but we are planning to send a man to the moon. What am I even saying? Simple electricity is rocket science.
These people who basically know little or nothing about this tech-oriented world we live in are the ones leading the most populous black nation into the future. We hear they want to contest for a second term, even their opponents are almost in the same generation as them. They will employ young people to run social media campaigns for them, and download apps on their phones. After elections, they toss them aside and appoint 80 year olds as Ministers.
Sigh, good luck Nigeria.