Monday, April 20, 2009
Every so often, I get depressed about the modern world. I have become an old fart, and that’s what old farts do. They bemoan how things aren’t what they once were.
Now, I’m not so dense that I can’t see that some things are better than they used to be. And I’m also not so dense as to miss the fact that I’m using one of those things right now. I’m blogging, for goodness’ sakes. The term itself was unknown just a short while back. However, there’s a difference between what I’m doing and what is becoming the norm. As someone wiser than me pointed out – on their blog, last week, and I’m too lazy to backtrack and find out who, so this loses some of it’s power by that admission, but at least I’m honest – Bloggers write, while Twitterers just keep saying "Me! Me! Me!" in 240 character bursts.
I see people walking down the street (or, worse, driving down the street) with cell phones glued to their ears, and I become depressed. Or texting. That depresses me even more. It’s as though an entire generation has been raised to be deathly afraid of ever being alone. They don’t know how to deal with silence, and they very rarely stop gabbing long enough to actually think. Obviously, it’s a nice thing if people want to communicate, but it’s easy to see, from the way many of those communications take place, that communicating something of importance isn’t the point. If they truly wanted to communicate something of importance, they’d learn to spell (not to mention the fact that they wouldn’t get all bent out of shape when someone else actually uses more than two sentences when relaying their thoughts or more than two minutes to tell them whatever earth-shattering news couldn’t wait until they got home from the supermarket. It’s more like these people have gigantic long-distance umbilical cords.)
Just last week, someone asked me my opinion on...
(Well, no, that’s a lie. Nobody asked me concerning the opinion I’m about to spout off. I just offered it up, out of the blue, so, yeah, I’m no better than some of the folks I’m castigating. That’s OK. They’re too busy running their thumbs over tiny little keyboards to give a shit if I’m a hypocrite.)
Anyway, I proudly proclaimed myself a Luddite. I said that I had never owned a cell phone and that I never want to own a cell phone. I averred that I was usually pissed about receiving phone calls on my archaic landline, let alone a cell phone. Usually, the call is an unwanted interruption to whatever I’m doing when the phone rang. Why in hell would I want to carry around a portable interrupting device? However, I use a computer, watch TV, and listen to radio, so I’m something of a reformed Luddite.
(Yes, yes, yes. If someone whom I love has called me, then I’m generally glad they did. But that’s getting to be a shorter list every day. And most of the calls I receive are trying to sell me health insurance - I'm an old fart, remember? – or, worse yet, trying to get me to switch phone carriers and also buy a cell phone. Grrrrrrrrrrr.)
This could well turn into a rant of epic proportion, but the point of telling you all of the above, aside from general pissiness, was as set-up for a reason why I have hope.
You’ll perhaps recall my niece, Ava. Or, as she once named herself and which I still like to call her, Avaroo. She has started going to pre-school, and what she did there has given me a brief glimmer of hope. I received the following report from my sister-in-law, Ava’s mother.
"Ava informed me yesterday that, while she is at school, she does not play, does not go to the bathroom, and does not eat."
Certainly, those aren’t reasons to celebrate. Let’s continue, though.
"I thought I should check on this, with her teacher, and she said that Ava does play (after some coaxing) and she does go to the bathroom, but she has refused all food since she started."
That could be somewhat alarming, especially with a little girl. It sounds like the beginning of a serious eating disorder. However, again, let us continue listening to Ava’s mother.
"Yesterday, the teacher was trying to encourage her to try something (meals are included in the fee, and I say, ‘The more free meals, the better!’)
Ava said, ‘I’m not here for the food. I want to learn to read.’
I can’t decide if that was rude or not..."
"I’m not here for the food. I want to learn to read."
God bless her. She has given me the strength to continue for another day without hanging myself.
Soon, with more better stuff.
(Addendum: Credit where credit is due. Chris Mauger points out to me that The Essential Bastard came up with the line about Bloggers versus Twitterers.)