A friend of mine is sitting out on the porch. I have just read something incredibly well-written, which I want to read to her. It’s the obituary for a farmer in the rural area of upstate New York where I grew up — beautifully written, touching, sincere. I walk out on to the porch, knowing that, among other things, she loves being read to, and excitedly tell her I want to read something to her.
She agrees. I start to read.
About thirty seconds into the reading, her phone, the stupid, insistent little thing that seems to be attached to everyone’s hand (including mine), vibrates. A text message! One of the seven billion people out there has sent her something.
She stops listening to look at her phone.