As summer has come to a close, the nostalgia of a new school year probably has you looking back on your summer vacation and wondering whether you enjoyed it to the fullest? Did you have fun? Did you do everything you had hoped and wished too?
Reflecting on my own summer months, I have come to the realization that people have truly disconnected themselves from the simpler pleasures and joys of the summer holidays, when I’d lay out in the sun savoring an ice cream or popsicle while I tanned, enjoying the longer evenings when the sun sets later and the air is thick and warm, with no bedtime or curfew in mind.
Sadly, in recent years everyone just seems locked to their phones, texting and/or enthralled with social media. What happened to living in the moment? Summer was always such a perfect opportunity to cast aside your electronics and enjoy the short summer solstice. The disconnect or preoccupation with social media versus real authentic face-to-face socializing is it seasonal, or is it just the new normal?
I remember when lunch time felt like an hour-long vacation, walking outside in the sunshine from June to September, enjoying terrace lunches with friends or colleagues; laughing, chatting and soaking in the sun. You’d meet new people, mingle and forget for a moment it was an actual workday.
But this doesn’t appear to be the summertime luncheon spirit anymore, because now it’s only socially acceptable to do so with a drink in hand. The funny saying “Suns Out, Guns Out” has morphed into “Suns Out, Drunks Out”. Now it’s less lunch and more 5 à 7, where we’re forced to buy bottles to even get a seat at a proper table with chairs, otherwise, stand by the bar because “if you ain’t drinking, they ain’t seating ya”.
Drinking seems so much more prominent and overly indulgent than it once was. What happened to sipping a cold lemonade and enjoying the buzz of flocking people, out and about, enjoying the weather; the hum of summer excitement bubbling from everyone enjoying some vacation time or midsummer leisure?
As people seem to drink more the quality of people they’re meeting and conversations they’re having are dwindling, it’s unfortunate because I always found it easy to introduce my friends to their partners at restaurants, bars and clubs before the focal point became more about the booze and less about the socializing. For the most part it was such a fun time; a lively night in good company, with dancing and laughter that wasn’t clouded by a drunken haze and hangover the next day.
Now it’s “shots shots shots”, women clad in nearly no clothing, spilling out of their tops, men ogling and on the hunt, either looking like they just rolled out of bed or like they envision owning the universe; there’s no more middle ground, men and/or women who take care of their appearance and present themselves in a tasteful manner. So basically, what you end up with at the end of the night is a big bar tab, an undesirable suitor or someone you’d never take home to your mother and a throbbing headache. Waste of money and time!
Best not to forget to feed the Social Beast … remember to snap a picture of your forced enjoyment and fake smiles, because apparently that’s what is the optimal drive for going out nowadays.
If your aim is to build your social following, amp up your repertoire of trendy places you’ve been and been seen, frequent less than quality men/women, then be my guest and continue on the path of summer social 1.0. However, if you do want something a little more substantial and authentic consider leaving your phone at home, limiting yourself to 2-3 drinks, strike up a stimulating conversation and ohhh goodness, maybe even live in the moment.
I haven’t yet given up hope, I think eventually we’ll find a balance between WIFI and Dead Zone, maybe just stash your phone for a day see if the world ends, or maybe forget about your storyline and focus more on the possible connection you can build with someone you’re sitting next to on a dreamy summer day. Get out, get social, lose yourself for a second and disconnect from electronics.