With all of today's communications gadgets that are available to us, I find it more and more difficult to meet people who aren't at all interested in being accessible all day, every day, to whoever wishes to call them whenever they want. Personally, I love being by myself and enjoying my surroundings without interruption, whether I'm running, walking, or biking. To that end, I never carry a cell phone with me so that I can stay focused on where I am and what I'm doing.
While I was running today, I passed a woman on a beautiful lakeside trail who was talking on the phone. I watched her as I approached from behind--she never looked to the left or right, never took in the sights all around her. I ran out another half hour and then turned around--and about 45 minutes later I passed the same woman, still on the phone, still not looking around and enjoying her surroundings. I don't say this in judgment, but in observation, as something I've witnessed time and time again--she was in a beautiful area that could have been very soothing to her soul, but she chose to ignore her surroundings to have a conversation with someone else who wasn't in the same place.
As soon as we talk to someone else, at least a part of our awareness is pulled from our present location to wherever that person happens to be. Our focus is immediately split, and our ability to be aware and awake to our surroundings is severely diminished. These are simply facts. I want to do my best to be fully present at each moment where I am, and with whoever is sharing my time. It causes me a lot of pain to see little kids--who would love to have some positive attention--with parents who are on cell phones, paying no attention to their kids at all. So are they really spending "quality time" with their kids?
It's really nice to be alone, to be out of touch with other people. It's nice to allow ourselves to be alone, to be focused on what surrounds us rather than having someone else pull our mindfulness away from us. We human beings survived many thousands of years without being able to be in touch with other people any time, and we won't lose anything from our lives if we aren't accessible to anyone at any time.