It's one thing that technology has advanced to the point where cell phone reception extends even miles down into the canyon. It's another thing to see hikers on their cell phones in the middle of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. People are tethered to technology, and they've forgotten how to see things.
I went on a sunset tour with a busful of tourists, and at every overlook they swarmed out, fanny-packed and sunburnt, and snapped pictures on their iPads.
"Every person in America should see this," a woman drawled while digging through her purse for lip gloss. She retreated to the bus after her picture was snapped.
"Honey, faster," another woman said, "We have more pictures to take."
"What's the best place to get a sunset photo?" a man asked the driver.
And suddenly it isn't about standing and breathing in the spectacular sight. It isn't about being still and witnessing something bigger than yourself. It's about taking a picture where you look good so you can post it to facebook and prove you had a great time on your vacation. Does it even matter anymore if you have fun on vacation, if you don't have evidence that you did?
People go about vacations at a frenetic pace. It's almost a competitive sport. They drag kids along behind them, pose them like dolls for photographs, and hop back on the bus for the next stop.
And I, of course, a hypocrite, snapped pictures along with the rest of them. I take to facebook to complain about people who are facebook-obsessed. And pictures are wonderful souveniers! But I wonder, really, how much of the world we miss as we try to capture it?