Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Burned-Out Fried-Day Rant

Today at work, I read a report on the technology lifestyle of "tweens" (ages 9-14 year-olds) and came across the following sentence: "Watching TV in the car is primed for primetime."

While I understand that DVD players have been implemented in vehicles for fear that a child not be digitally stimulated at all times, I have to wonder what happened to simply looking out the window? After all, that's where life is actually happening. When did this stop becoming good enough? Do I sound like I'm 93? Did I mention that I had to walk to school uphill, both ways, in the snow? With no GPS? And no soundtrack?

With every minute of every day filled with the expectation of being connected, does any daydreaming get done? My pal, Jennifer, comments: "I think you should learn to be bored as a kid." I doubt this wired generation will understand what this means but I do think they are going to sport some incredibly muscular thumbs from texting non-stop. Eventually, they will start. To speak. The same way. That they. Like, instant message. In short. Choppy. Sentences. Perhaps, newborns will soon start to disembark from the Mothership already sporting iPods, Blackberries and Bluetooths - just charge 'em up and send 'em off.

Okay, maybe its living in San Francisco, a town teeming with hipsters, that is skewing my perspective. Still, there is something unsettling about walking into a coffee house and looking at everyone sitting silently, staring into their laptops and surfing the Craigslist dating section in hopes of maybe, possibly meeting the cute girl or boy currently sitting across the room.

During the dotcom heyday, when the town was swarming with overpaid post-grads from Boston, the cell phone was in full bloom. MUNI was teeming with incessant gabbers who openly discussed their one-night-stands from the previous evening, gave out their credit card numbers to order from (I shit you not) and wantonly discussed proprietary company strategies as if they were merely going over baseball stats. I marveled at their naked ignorance and wondered when they would either go home or shut up.

Eventually, the pretend money dried up, the foosball tables were auctioned on eBay and the kids went back home to live with their parents. We had our city back. It was quiet again. A little too quiet, actually. Now, everyone exists in their silent worlds - plugged into little white boxes, texting manifestos, and checking email on their phones.

Guess it's ironic, me getting so worked up about technology on my blog. Still, I have to wonder if being so connected all the time to another thing, another person, another place keeps us from living in the moment, drinking in the details of the present and just plain old looking out the window.

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