But I realized. All three of us had our phones on the table. And we weren't all necessarily using them; we were actively waiting for an excuse to do so.
In seeing this, the conception of this generation's addiction to the screen became clear.
When we go home, we sit in front of a screen, and interact with it. When we are outside, we bring a miniature screen to serve the same yet portable service. And it's become not just a common occurrence, but apart of my generation's life. There has not been a physical human interaction for this generation after 12 years old that did not involve someone eventually pulling a mini-screen from their jeans, or sitting in front of a bigger one at home.
We are essentially the first generation to depend on this technological interaction not merely for convenience, but as a distinct part of our culture, and the first to grow up through adolescence and young-adulthood with it.
The beauty in this statement is that it can be corroborated by physical, statistical evidence. If you look onto the Facebook pages of people older than, say, 26 (People who did not have social networking or texting as preteens or teenagers), they do not have the same amount of friends as someone younger than them. So as the FB accounts get younger in age, the more friends those accounts are connected to.
This doesn't mean that the younger you are, the more people you know. Merely that the younger you are, the more likely your peer group is immutably connected to the social network, and so there is a bigger pool of friends you'll have access to.
The negative in this increasingly addictive need to utilize every screen available to us is that we've become perpetually connected to our closest social circle. This gives us little reason to venture beyond that group, and thus means we're less likely to make an effort to create deep relationships with people as we get older. Why leave the comfort zone if it's always available for you?
This is unlike the generations prior to us, because when they left the house, they were unable to interact with anyone who wasn't physically there with them (No Facebook, no cell phone, no wi-fi, no laptop). So they were forced to sustain deep physical interactions with various people at all times.
The counter claim to this is that we can maintain contact with people from miles, and perhaps oceans, away. This is true. But those interactions contain little substance, and for the most part could have not happened, with no consequence on your maturation.
However, the positive is that the pool of texts and Facebook posts that we insatiably imbibe from is pristine, and has sincere human behavior. The Internet is a place clean of commercial/government influence, where people are about as much as they can be without the worry of propaganda seeping into their heads and casting shame.
Granted, this also means that we are delicate about our status in our peer group, as the Internet provides a constant view into the world of others, which means we have a constant source of people to compare ourselves to.
But changing the perspective, this means we hold social allegiance to one another. Not a nation, a corporation, or any vague entity. The people who hold the most influence over this generation and every generation after us are ourselves. And there's something kind of pretty about that.