Saturday, June 16, 2007
Well, I remembered the post that was rattling around in my head. And it's amazing how a thought one day can have completely different meaning to you another day.
Recently, I was in a sandwich shop waiting to pick up some lunch. Another customer walked in, and I heard him say "Hello". I turned, smiling, and said 'hello' back, only to be met with a strange look. That's when I noticed the little techno gadget attached to his ear. Feeling dumb, I turned and waited silently while this guy stood looking like he was talking to himself. Being lunch hour, the place started to fill up. Soon there were at least 7 people standing there waiting for sandwiches, and the places was buzzing with voices. But as I looked around, I took note... with all those bodies in there, not one was talking to another physical being that I could see. One guy was on an actual hand-held phone, so at least he looked semi-normal, but the others all had those Bluetooth things strapped to their ears. It suddenly felt like something out of Star Trek. I was in a room full of people apparently talking to themselves.
After getting my lunch, I drove off thinking about the whole scene. Lately, it seems like there is nothing but technology surrounding me. I know it's a great thing (here I sit on a gorgeous morning typing away at my own computer), but when do we say enough is enough? We go to social events, and I see kids sitting with gameboys, or watching DVDs. My 4th grader tells me 'all' her friends have cell phones. Even down at the Inn, going to hear Fitz play, I see people sitting texting eachother.
Years ago, when Kaleigh was just a toddler, I sat in the before school meetings that are inevitable for a public school teacher. The new Superintendent in our system got up to make a speech. She started to tell a story that described a student of the future. All about a girl finishing her homework on her laptop while she ate her breakfast. Her mom broke in with an IM about what time she would be home from work and to "have a good day, honey." She checked her palm pilot to see her class schedule for the day... Basically, the girl went through the entire day interacting with technology and hardly any time interacting with other people. This Superintendent was holding this up as our 'amazing future' with a big smile and a "Isn't that wonderful?" I walked away horrified. Thankfully, Kaleigh was in a daycare that I had picked specifically for it's country setting and laid back ways, and when I left the meeting to go pick her up, she was filthy and playing with a baby goat out back. The world again was right.
Yesterday we drove out to Western MA for a family event (another post!) and on our way back we wound through the Berkshires on the old Mohawk Trail. The kids had been amazing all day, having sat through a 3 hour car ride going out, and then a 2 hour lunch with not a lot of room to run. So when Fitz saw a shallow riverbed through the woods, he pulled over. The kids scrambled out and ran in all different directions, so happy to be free. They started by rolling up pants and taking off shoes, but it wasn't long before E.J. was in completely up to his waist and soaked. Charlie, our one unselfconscious child, stripped to his underwear to join his brother. Pipo, still hesitant around water was slower to get in there, but the one we had to drag out when it was time to go. Tommy spent the whole time finding "Callapitters'!!!! and screaming for all his sisters to come look. When EJ lost a shoe and it started to float downstream quickly, even Kaleigh and I ended up getting soaked, jumping in to save it. Pure paradise.
I sat on a rock with Fitz looking over the whole scene and remembered my afternoon in the sandwich shop. It frightens me how much technology is taking over. I do know it can be great... heck it's a big part of our survival with Fitz's work. But I am so glad there are escapes. I am so glad there are still places untouched. I just need to remember they are there, remember to bring the kids there regularly. I think about our day yesterday, and I wouldn't mind throwing all the technology right out the window.