currently querying: The Light at the End of the World

Right on, Dave!

Driving in to work this morning, I listened to an interview with a local computer guru, Dave Rogers. This is an interesting series about local small businesses that the CBC morning show, A New Day, does. Dave runs a computer business called Yukon Dude Now this may be a small thing to pick out of a much longer (& very interesting) interview, but Dave said something that jumped out and struck a chord. Dave, Yukon computer dude extraordinaire (and a cool guy who I happen to know because we both work at Yukon College) does not have a cell phone! Dave says that he did not move all the way up here just to be surrounded by millions of people, which is what a cell phone feels like to him. Hey, Dave! Me too! I feel exactly the same way! I do things the old fashioned way…if someone wants to speak with me, they leave a message on my answering machine (yes, answering machine – the kind you plug into your wall) and I phone them back as soon as its convenient. Nuts to being tied to everybody else’s schedule. I am not at the world’s beck and call and while I admit that it could be handy to phone home in the middle of the grocery store when I can’t remember if we’re out of lettuce or not, I certainly don’t want to carry the world around with me in my back pocket. (Well, okay – I don’t have a back pocket. I don’t want to carry the world around with me in my purple leather ruffled purse).  And then Dave said another thing that jumped out and struck a chord – Dave is annoyed by all the nose-down, thumb-pumping action that you see just about every second person doing on their blackberries. And you know what, Dave? It annoys me, too! It feels so anti-social. I suppose that that person is being technologically social (as opposed to….socially social?)… Hammering away with their thumbs and not having to make eye-contact with anyone. I guess I am not a technologically social person. I like to look at people and have people look at me. The other day I sang out a cheerful “good morning” to a fellow College employee only to realize that they were totally oblivious: head down, thumbs racing. Well, I wasn’t trying to interrupt, but when someone says good morning to you in the office, you look at them in the face and smile and return the greeting – and then go back to what you were doing. When did that change? I’ve been in a room having actual real live conversation with people when suddenly they give a start and stick their hand into their pocket, pull out the little device and start the thumb pumping. (Did you think I was going to say something else?) And what does that say to me, the real live person in front of them? I am suddenly left painfully aware that I am the least important person in the room. Whoever is texting or phoning is eminently more important than I am. Why is that? Why is it that the blackberry is more important than the real live conversation you are in the middle of? So much more important, in fact, that you have to drop everything you are doing at its command? Sort of like alcohol to an alcoholic.  Well, the nature of addiction and the loss of manners in society are two other topics entirely. But when it comes to cell phones… I’m with Dave on this one.

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