Monday, July 12, 2010


I was talking to Dad the other day about how technology and the Internet is changing our lives. He was reminiscing about the days before the Internet (B.I.).  The things he told me sounded like something out of a twilight episode.  No not the new vampire twilight movie craze.  The old black and white twilight zone episodes.  The show where nothing was ever what it seemed; the bizarre was the norm. 

He was telling me about how he used to chat with his friends.  Get this, he had to walk to his friends house, knock on the door, wait for somebody to come to the door, ask if his friend was home politely (whatever that means), then wait for the adult that answered the door to question his motives before allowing his friend to chat with him.  That had to take like five or ten minutes.  

I asked dad about this term "polite".  He said it was being nice, like this: "Hello Mrs. Smith how are you today? Mom wanted me to tell you the cake you made for the Church fellowship last Sunday was delicious.  If it is not a family secret she would like the recipe.  But I was really here to see if Bobby can come outside and kick cans down the dirt road?  Yes maam my mother said it would be fine as long as I was home by supper."  LOL dad is so funny.

He went on to say if your buddy was allowed outside, it was a good day.  He described times when nobody would come to the door!  He said it would be like not being able to logon to the Internet. :(  If this happened he had to walk back home without talking to anybody!  Bizarre, I know.  Too weird, I know.

But think how far we have come.  Everywhere I go now I see people with an electronic device (cellphone or ipod or iphone or droid or ipad stuck in front of their face or in their ear). You are reading this on your iphone now aren't you?  We can talk to or text our friends anytime.  We can even keep up with them every minute of the day on Facebook.  Imagine not being able to know what your friends were doing or where they were.  Sorry do not panic it was just a thought.

Wait a minute, that gives me an idea.  Let's test your survival skills.  If you are out in public right now try something radical for, just for 10 minutes.  Set the timer on your phone to countdown from 10 minutes, there is an app for it.  Better yet, find the on off switch to your electronic device and power it off. You can't find the on off switch can you? Never used it have you?  It's OK just go back to the timer.  OK, if you are still in a public place (airport, restaurant, work, waiting room, Sunday school) put it in your pocket or purse for 10 minutes. 

Now raise your head and look around. Those are called other people. Find one of these other people with an electronic device stuck in their face or in their ear. OK one thing you need to know about these other people that you may not know. If they see you looking at them, look away quickly they want to steal your electronic device. Just kidding.  Observe how they are in their own little world. Notice how they stare at this device. They talk to this device. They do not realize others around them exist. Watch what happens when they have to interact with others.

There is no eye contact.  There is no emotion icon on their face, is there?  I know I know it reminds you of that awkward You Tube video you saw one time.  Watch how they protect their electronic device. They keep it away from liquids and edges of the table.  They keep close to their body.  They keep it away from small children, sorry did not mean to panic you again.  They even have a protective case for it.  If they put it down, it will only be there for approximately 3 to 5 seconds, typically it is by their left hand.  OK stop watching. Weird huh? 

You want to go the next level?  This could be dangerous.  This stage is only for the most skilled.  You made it this far, you survived 10 minutes without your electronic device.  It's like the time your battery died, tragic I remember.  OK you can do this, this is radical. Try driving to work without your radio, sorry had a dad flashback, a radio is what my dad was telling me about he listened to years ago.  Try driving to work without using your electronic device.  Resist the urge to hold your iphone or blackberry or whatever you have.  You will see some very scary things.

Quickly glance at a few cars.  Most likely the driver will be talking even though there are no other passengers in the vehicle.  Yes his car is equipped with the bluetooth feature you want, don't give up your dream, but focus with me for a few more moments.  One of the more common sights you will see is the texting drivers. These drivers will have their head down, the device in their right hand, the blur you see hovering over the device is their thumb punching the buttons.  Ease back on the gas pedal and let them go their way.  These drivers consider themselves experts and will cut off less skilled drivers in a heartbeat. Beware of the texting driver.  

The rarest of all sights is the two passenger car.  Two passengers riding in the front of the vehicle.  I have witnessed this only on a few occasions.  There are times when apparently people have to ride together to get to work.  Used car salesmen fear this phenomenon more than anything.  Most likely you will see the driver and passenger using devices individually.   I spoke to one such passenger and found they were texting each other. "OMG trffc is a nghtmr c u @ wrk." "lk OMG i no i mght b lat 2day."

You may think this is crazy talk, until you look around.  When was the last time you spent a day without cable TV or the internet or your cell phone?  How many of you have seen WALL-E?  I am beginning to think the writers of WALL-E were on to something.

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