Friday, November 20, 2009

Becoming a Curmudgeon

November can be a cruel month.
It teases and flirts with it's summer like days to remind us of the summer past, but it also blows rain and premature December winds to remind us of what is yet to come.

I sat in a coffee shop on a rather nice November day, and I had this profound sense of not belonging as I watched dozens of people actively on cell phones. Talking, texting, twittering, GPSing, googling, downloading, playing, watching video, playing games, blogging.....

It brought me to this post: I seem to fondly remember a time not so long ago, when we could go to a movie, make an egg sandwich, read a book...whatever....and not have to post about it.

I remember the social network scene that involved real face time with real friends. It was a time not long ago when we could make a flan, BBQ a steak, walk a dog, go to church, lock our keys in the car.....and not have to jump on our devices to tell the world.

It is not there is anything wrong with this new world per say, it is just that I sat in the "FourBucks" and enjoyed my paper and my over priced hot foam, I looked up and at that moment saw a dozen or more people on cell phones doing all of the above I am sure.
It hit me.
Why did these devices, these "Smart phones" seem like the embodiment of everything I want to escape?
They are indeed the inevitable technological development and I thought, give us freedom to be better, to do more, to connect better, and yet in their abundance, I saw the measure of how far I had fallen away from the community of contemporary souls. The distance I have moved from the world I used to inhabit. How quick I became the curmudgeon I dreaded becoming.
I read updates from "friends" on Facebook and get angry at the simplicity of the messages. Not on purpose, but postings seem like a competition to get their downloads out there.

I don't belong here anymore.
My membership has lapsed.
Go. I thought


bobbie said...

I guess I don't belong either. I own a cell phone, but very rarely use it. It's for emergencies only. And I become increasingly annoyed each time I see someone walking down the street or through a store, or - God forbid!- driving a car with a phone glued to their ear.

Annieofbluegables said...

Some of my kids only answer texts, others hate it and don't.
I have 6 kids and I'm sure without them, I would be one of those without a cell phone. Their insistence brought us up to date in that sense.
But I agree with you. There two people sit, eating lunch or drinking coffee together, each talking to someone else on their cell phone and not to each other.
??? What's that?
It's funny though. When my middle daughter left home, she would call me, periodically. If I didn't answer right away, she got miffed. Where were you mom? I called all morning. I even tried your cell. Why aren't you answering?
So I was in the garden, can't a mom go to the garden and weed once in a while without bringing the cell outside?
And that reminds me of a cute story. I will include that in my next comment. . .:D

Annieofbluegables said...

My comment was getting too long, but here is the story.
The kids felt that Dad needed to be in touch with the outside world, they wanted him to get a phone.
He didn't want one, but they convinced him with the argument:
It will be convenient. You won't have to drive to town to talk to your buddies. We can keep in touch with you and check on you.
A couple of weeks later, they were visiting him, and the phone rang. He ignored it and kept on talking to the kids. It rang several more times during their stay and he didn't answer it. The kids asked him why he wasn't answering it.
He replied, You said it was for my convenience, right?
Yes, they said
Well, he answered, It ain't convenient.

Kay Dennison said...

I am not chained to my cell phone. I answer it if and when I choose and NEVER when I'm driving. I don't have a fancy phone -- the only add on I have is my Ohio State Fight song ringtone. I don't and won't text. I have Facebook but mostly ignore it. I refuse to Twitter. My cell phone is for convenience and emergencies. And yeah, with a lot of out-of-town family and friends, the free long distance is great!

Anonymous said...

My husband considers pagers and cell phones to be electronic leashes.
Truly, that is why I have one: so the school or my husband can reach me even if I am away from home.

I love the stories that Annie shared above. There are plenty of times when the phone is an inconvenience and we treat is as such.

CiCi said...

I have a cell phone, if someone is in my contacts and the phone rings it will tell me who is calling. If I don't know who is calling I don't answer. They are the one calling me, so if it is important they need to leave a message and I will return the call. I don't want my life to be at the beck and call of everyone else. I want my life to be mine. I have a blog, but I don't do FB or Tweet. I do text sometimes because that is how I get in touch with my daughter. It is so sad to watch other people, some are out walking with their little kids and are on the cell phone the whole entire time, not at all having any time with the kid. Or a couple out together and not spending time being together.

Tom Hannon said...

What is so important that has people talking, texting, emailing & posting all the time, everywhere, about everything, any time. While sitting at tables and waiting on tables, while walking the streets and walking the dog, while supposedly driving or parking the car, while waiting in lines and waiting on those in the line! Everywhere we hear constant blabbing banter about who knows what, everywhere we get assaulted with a steady flow of digital gibberish transmitted around the world. And it is while in a conversation, while in a transaction and while interacting throughout a day that we hear RING! RING! Or whatever sound the SmartPhone makes when a call, text or email gets pushed out. It becomes more important that you, the friend, the customer or stranger in an elevator! One of these days I just may get mad as hell, not take it anymore; I just may break saying “How ‘bout ya push yer phone where the sun don’t shine?” Would that be too rude of me? Yeah, David, November is a cruel month, but not as cruel as digital human nature, sometimes.

~Tom : “If 6 was 9”

Gerry Hatrić said...

It would be amusing to start a "Say No to Facebook" Facebook group and see how many numpties join it.

I think the world would be a better place without many technological so called improvements. I rank TV top of the list.

Jan D-M said...

I used to turn my nose up at people with cell phones and those who used Facebook. I don't anymore. We got a cell phone after my husband drove three hours to visit a parishioner in the hospital. Twenty minutes out of town, I got notified the patient had been released and was on her way home. With no way to let Jim know, he drove all the way to Chicago only to find it was for naught. We got the phone.

I'm not in LOVE with Facebook, but I have found that it keeps me connected with nieces and nephews scattered all over the country and I have learned things (good things) about them just from their Facebook posts. I love that.

That said, both can be overused and become obnoxious. Despite all the negatives, this is a technological generation. We either adjust or lose touch with them. I enjoy the connection and look forward to the times we are together in the flesh.

hockeychic said...

I do love Facebook because it has brought several old and dear friends back into my life. However, I don't feel the need to update about every single thing in my life. I don't have internet on my phone and in fact, when I got this phone, the sales person did not understand why I just wanted a phone and not one with 500 gadgets on it. I'm learning to turn it off when my daughter is at home and to leave it behind during walks, hikes, etc. I do worry about my daughter though because she panics if I don't answer my phone right away - she needs to learn the art of patience - something I think the gadgets take away.

Anonymous said...

I can surely relate to that sentiment. On the one hand, these little devices are pretty handy when you're bored while waiting in line, but by doing so, you end up missing out on some pretty stellar people watching. We are rapidly devolving in the social arena while kidding ourselves that we're becoming more connected. It's WEIRD.

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Tricia said...

I have tried for so long to put my finger on what exactly bothers me with facebook, twitter, and all the others. Reading this, I realize you are exactly right. It is a competition. Over the most insignificant and mundane.

Nishant said...

God forbid!- driving a car with a phone glued to their ear.

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