Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Simplify, simplifly, semper-fi!

I saw a commercial yesterday afternoon that made me want to throw away every electronic device I own, cancel my satellite TV, my cell phone service, and sell my computers, then learn to knit for entertainment.

Okay, sure, I do have other entertainment. I cut, shape and polish agates and gems, for one. I read, I write - neither of which requires technology. And my sister and I love an evening spent at our Mother's house, playing cards with her and her husband.

But really -- There was this commercial about some electronic gadgetry, or the future of possibilities, or maybe it was soap, but it was going on and on with these images of people all over the globe, in all cultures and countries, using all manner of computerized consumer products to email, web-surf, phone, fax, scan, and even track "friends". There was one image with some words that conveyed the opinion that, in the not too distant future, you can "subscribe" to your friends and look up their exact planetary location at any given time.

Does this disturb anyone else?

Not only that particular trick, but this entire trend of always on, instantly connected, always aware?


Seriously, it's getting to me. Yes, I own a cell phone, but you'll have to trust me when I say I only own it and only use it for emergencies. It's a security blanket for a single woman in this crazy world, who drives a 50 mile round trip commute daily. I swear the only time it's an indulgence for me is when my sister and I are out and about and decide we should phone Applebees for a carside dinner to go.

Yes, I have satellite TV. Yes, I even have cable internet. And okay, twist my arm and you'll notice I use a DVR to record programs automatically (look, ma, no vcr).

But suddenly, as I'm watching that commercial, it all felt very suffocating. I do mock people who have the Internet on their cell phones. Those self-important types who feel the need to check email while sitting at their son's school play. The guy watching a movie on his laptop, his cell phone and his FREAKISHLY HUGE hdtv, all during his supposed train commute to work.

I read somewhere that 80 percent of all cell phone calls people take in public are faked. That they're just pretending, in order to look cool. You know why I keep my cell phone on while I'm in public? Because it shows me the time. I don't wear a watch.

I don't disparage all electronics, because clearly I use and enjoy them. They have a place, they have a time, and they have a purpose.

But dear GOD, do we seriously need -- or deserve -- to know where our friends are at all times? Is it vitally necessary that we have access to our SPAM while we're waiting for our latte? Can we not go five minutes between Instant Messaging during dinner at a nice restaurant?

I was going to avoid any mention of: Back in MY day -- but . . .

It was just ten years ago when cell phones began to be interesting to the average Joe. A mere 15 years ago, most people didn't have a PC, satellite TV was a gigantic dish that took up your entire backyard and screamed your affluence to your neighbors.

It wasn't that long ago when we could drive down the freeway and only have to worry about people shaving or applying mascara. When pay phones were considered a necessary item on every block, just in case you had an emergency.

Not long ago, we didn’t have MP3 players insulating us from the outside world. Back then, we'd act a bit more polite to the other people in line, because we could hear and see them. We wouldn't dash across the street in traffic as if we were the only humans on the planet, because we could hear the car engines coming up from behind. I remember a time when we could walk down a sidewalk, see people coming and make room for them. Even smile as they passed.

And sure, this sounds really ridiculous coming from the mouth of someone who enjoys writing Science Fiction with futuristic settings.

But does the future really have to be so . . . annoying? Doesn't it feel sometimes like, if they invent one more thing that isolates us from the humans around us, we're all gonna forget what life is really like?

Yeah, sure, it's an exaggeration. I'm being ridiculous, overreacting and blathering at the mouth. That commercial just brought me to the brink, is all. It's just odd how these products designed to "bring people closer" are really there to isolate everyone.

Like they want to bring us all closer, but only in a virtual manner.

Okay, enough rambling. Consider this just a: Unplug that thing and go outside! Rant, 'cause that's all it really amounts to.

Now, let's just scroll back down to my post about MEN and relax, shall we?


At 3:51 PM, Blogger Cath Smith said...

I understand. My cell phone, I could live without - as you say, I only keep it for emergencies. But the internet access you're going to have to pry out of my cold, dead hands. (Not possible, I know, but you get the drift).

It's an interesting idea - follow your friends wherever they are - check up and see if they're really at home with a cold when they phone to say they're not able to meet you this evening - check the boyfriend isn't gadding about at that strip club he used to frequent. It's open to all kinds of uses...

Scary doesn't cover it!

At 2:17 AM, Blogger Matt D said...

I think I can live with anything as long as those phone-in-the-ear bluetooth things go away. They give me the ubercreeps.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Bk30 said...

nope, I completely get it.


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