I can access more information than I need faster than I’ve ever known that I don’t need to know about something than ever before. Unless…something isn’t working like I expect it to. System restore, bang on the box, cross my fingers, turn it on and off….maybe just sit and look at the screen and wonder, “what’s going on?”…I’ll try it all, my life ticking away while I sit, frustrated and flummoxed.
I stopped using Firefox after all the computer voodoo this morning…couldn’t get it to work right so I just gave up. Google Chrome seems to work so I’ll just go with the “happy accident” and roll with learning about a new browser.
I think our brains work differently now than they did before we became so tethered to our electronic devices. I remember thinking that it was so funny when I saw someone walking down the street talking on their cell phones….so funny that they couldn’t seem to give it a rest for even an afternoon. Now I have a cellphone ( a Tracfone…what a cheap skate!) and people can reach me anywhere if I have the phone with me and they know my number. I’m one of them now…a reformed Luddite, a late adopter, dipping my toes into the pool to see how cold the water really is. Now we think fast…able to accelerate our attention until we can notice everything even if we don’t really understand anything completely. 4G, wireless, fast and new…best…the next “must have”…the newest “don’t be left behind”.
I remember the first time I heard a Sony Walkman. In the dining hall at Falling Creek Camp, Burts Bryant walked up and let me listen to one of his camper’s new “toys”. I felt like some sheltered tribesman…jumping back in wonderment when the sound started coming out of the headphones. What a revelation….”that little cassette player sounds like that? Cool!”…it was quite an eye-opening event at the time.
Now we make fun of it…like it was a wood and steel wheel….a relic from a distant time…our generation’s Victrola.
If I think back, it was really the beginning of a new kind of isolation. I can’t remember anything before that that let us zone out quite as completely as the Walkman…maybe reading a book?…I don’t really know. We were in the world…but not really of the world.
We are more connected to each other now… and less interactive. We can have thousands of Facebook friends…and not have a single true confidant. It is a strange time…and we get more used to it being the “new normal” with each passing day.
I guess that every generation has some kind of old benchmark…something that ties them to what they suppose were the good old days. Maybe someday the next round of old people will say, “remember the days of 4G? …before the holographic implant and the wondertether?…things were microseconds slower and you had to carry the plastic box?…didn’t we talk more before the cranialscrew machine stopped all that? …weren’t things better when we didn’t race the solarshield hovercraft and move through the liquid field?”
Who knows what’s going to happen. Maybe we’ll have some kind of “back to the dark ages” EMP and the closest we’ll get to technology will be burning the hot dogs over the fire…and then we can say, “remember the days of the store-bought bun?”…and reminisce as we stare into the flames…the brave new world of the Walkman far behind us.