Thursday, June 18, 2009

Incognito

by Gale Sears

I’m edging toward senior citizen—catapulting is more realistic, but I refuse to give in to the acceleration, and although I try to stay aware of current trends and technologies, I do notice several things that set me outside the current generation.

I learned to type on a typewriter. It served its purpose during the years of high school term papers and essays, but I did not mind chucking the archaic machine into the dustbin of history, along with carbon paper, and changing ribbons. I do like computers where you can easily erase a mistake or reposition paragraphs, or have the machine alert you when you’ve misspelled a word. The thing I don’t like about computers is how addictive they can be: searching the web, emailing, blogging, twittering, facebooking, computer games, computer dating, and computer shopping. One can get lost.

I remember when our family got our first television. Its guts were filled with big electronic tubes that had to be repaired by a TV repairman. It had a black and white picture and three channels that went off at midnight. Now our television is plasma, in color, with 100 plus channels. It seems like a vast improvement, but I wonder. Sometimes I find myself sitting in front of the TV bleary eyed and exhausted. I’ve just spent four hours surfing through shows and not being able to recall one thing I watched. Lost.

When I was young I played outside—a lot. During the summer my friends and I would roam the dirt roads in search of adventure. We’d build forts, swim in the lake, or look for frogs and snakes in the meadow. And, in the afternoon gloaming, we’d have neighborhood barbeques and softball games. Cell phones and texting did not exist. We’d yell at each other, and laugh and cry together; communicating face to face where you could hear the tone of voice and see the person’s facial expressions. I loved hearing my mother’s voice calling my name from blocks away—calling me to come home. Now the cell phone buzzes and the child looks down to see the words—CUM HOME. Lost in translation.

So…what am I doing writing this blog and what are you doing reading it? I guess there is good purpose in this new generation of rapid communication if we don’t go overboard, but I say we get together for a face to face lunch and perhaps afterwards a game of Hide and Seek. You can pretend to be lost and I’ll find you.

5 comments:

Jennie said...

I'd love to come play!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Me, too. I always loved Hide & Seek. =)

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Michele Ashman Bell said...

Gale, I worry about this lost personal connection because of technology. I loved running free when I was a child. Now I don't dare let my little ones out of my sight. Thank you for your post.

Valerie said...

Lots to think about here, Gale. I've been thinking about it since I first read it. Like you, I remember learning on a typewriter--and also the trauma of switching to a computer. I felt I had so much more control with a typewriter. And these days I watch my niece texting her friends--and even people who aren't her friends--engaging in minute conversations/insults when ordinarily those types of interactions could be (and should be) bypassed completely. It's another form of "cyber bullying" that seems to have sprung up in this techno age. On a new topic I was reading about authors who still write with a pen or pencil and yellow legal pad. Then type it into the computer. Sometimes I wonder how book publishing existed before computers, and other times I wonder if they've complicated a process that could be much simpler. Not that it much matters what anyone thinks since regardless, this is what we've got--computers, cell phones, twittering, and on and on.