Do you suffer from OCUD or Mal de Coucou? OCUD (Obsessive cell phone use disorder) describes a person who continually talks on their cell phone or checks updates on mobile apps in public, while driving, meeting friends or eating in a restaurant. Or going to a classical concert. Mal de Coucou is a new buzzword, says China Daily: “Describes a phenomenon in which a person has an active social life but very few close friends”.
So, how are you doing?
I think mobiles have become a terrible plague. I am not sure but Chinese people might be the worst hit. One cannot understand how Chinese survived before the era of mobiles, when we had at best a fixed telephone and a fax. And of course TV and newspapers. I did never saw anybody going to the restaurant with a fax machine.
The result is that personal contact has deteriorated. Everybody is on the phone, does not pay attention to the people sitting around them. Generally speaking it worsens the attention span of people who have a real difficulty to focus. You send people a mail, they at most read the subject line and maybe the first line. Then they ask you for details that were already inside the mail. You ask to do research and the results are often poor. They write a report or mail and do not pay attention to spelling nor details. You have a discussion (or what seems to be a discussion) and they hear 20% of what you say. They are too busy on their phones.
Enjoying life? Oh… that is even worse. Eating out, no time to enjoy the food: time to make selfies, a pic of the dishes and quickly spread it over their social media. Sightseeing? They don’t see anything, do not enjoy the scenery as they are again busy with selfies, shooting pics and updating their social media. For a Chinese, sitting on a terrace and enjoying the people walking by must sound like a total waste of time.
One of the frustrations is going to a classical concert or ballet in China. People are totally inconsiderate, constantly on their phones, even talking. It feels like if we foreigners would do the same in a meeting in the Great Hall of The People. Imagine the Chinese “indignation”.
Even sex suffers. Who has time for it? Updates and messages must be checked immediately. No time for cuddling or something real nice. And the phones stay on all night, waking up people who then complain why contacts update their news in the middle of the night.
Not to be surprised the older generation suffers most. The children meet the parents or other family members but just remain glued to their screens. Nice dinner!
Mobiles in traffic and everywhere
In Beijing the rule in traffic is that driving a car mandates to keep an eye on the mobile, so if one turns right or left, no time to put on the signal and no time to look if cars, bicycles or pedestrians are in the way. Some drivers are pretty skilled to turn around while working on their phones and even smoking. That is all OK as you never see traffic police anyway. Pedestrians and bikers are no better. People walk in bike lanes, talking or texting on their phones and deaf to the warnings from bikers. Pedestrians cross streets glued to their screens. Bikers text while biking or riding their motorbike. I even once saw a guy riding his bike and reading his newspaper but that was a primitive specimen.
The fixations with drivers and their mobiles might also explain why Chinese drivers are so terrible: they do not connect with their cars and their environment as we do. Just look when they try to park their car. Or try a U-turn.
Another real annoyance is in the gym where people consider the machines comfortable chairs to keep busy with their phones while others want to use the machine. Consideration for others is not in the dictionary.
As for me? Well, I talk very very little on the phone and prefer SMS or WeChat messages. Yes, I keep a close eye on WeChat but I do not have 500 people I hardly know that want me to check what they are “doing”. Or any crap they want to tell the world. When I rest, stay in bed or sleep the phone is off.
And yes, I perfectly survive sitting on the beach, near a pool or in the mountains with no wifi and even no phone.
Why should we know what our 500 “friends” are eating, what their dog or cat is doing, what bag, shoes, beauty creams, … they just bought? Or one more selfie to show how cute or handsome they are?
Not interested. Except if it is from a real close friend and I then prefer to see it in person. And talk, without a cell in my hands. Otherwise I would be phubbing. No, it is not a spelling mistake: it is the new word for ignoring the person you are with in favor of your phone.
Here is an interesting video:
Have fun watching it.