Monday, July 1, 2013

Living reluctantly in this age

I just spent ten minutes rounding up my electronic devices and their various cords so I could get them all charged. This is as much a "first world problem" any, I suppose, but as I was crawling under the end-table in the living room to grab my lap-top's cord in order to bring it to my bedroom, plug it in so I could write this post in front of a whirling fan, I began to chuckle. It's been blazing hot in our corner of the country. Hot enough that we have gathered our fans from the bowels of our cellar, where they gather dust most of the year and planted ourselves directly in front of them so we have half a chance of staying cool enough to be reasonable. We don't do well in the heat. We're cranky and irritable and tend to blame each other for all kinds of ridiculous piddly things, like, "Why didn't you water the geraniums in back when you watered the ones in front?" "Because I thought YOU were going to." Just like we were about seven years old and ready to tattle to our parents.

All that to say, that's why I was trying to retrieve my laptop cord from it's usual, hard-to-reach dwelling place. But I got it, then had to re-arrange my whole power strip so that every cord fit perfectly: cell-phone, Kindle, lap-top, bedside lamp and clock. Then I collapsed onto my bed in a heap and thought of how much more complicated life is now than it was when I was a teenager. I remember how much I wanted a record-player, and begging my parents for my own telephone extension in my bedroom. I was unsuccessful at getting either of these big-ticket items. They didn't want me tying up their phone line for hours on end. They bought me a little transistor radio, with a brown leather cover. I loved it. Was SO proud of it--even if it wasn't nearly as cool as my friends' phonographs. And get this--I didn't even have a clock by my bed until I was a senior in high school when my parents bought me my own bedside alarm clock. Wind-up. Until then, I was awakened each day (like the rest of my family) when my mother turned on the intercom and we heard HER choice of music floating through the house.

Yep, it's a whole different world. Now we can't go anywhere without all these gadgets and their accompanying cords. Without being connected every minute of the day. Sometimes I'm so nostalgic for those days I can almost weep for the true simplicity of it, for the ability to leave the house and know I'll be alone and unavailable for a while. To take a walk and not have to answer to anyone. I guess that's why I'm never very good at remembering my phone, or keeping my computer or Kindle charged. I just don't quite have a handle on how to live this way.

And it strikes me as slightly silly.
Beve and I sat in a restaurant last night and couldn't have a conversation because a woman sat alone at a table beside us talking loudly on her phone for most of our meal.  And today, I was in a bathroom stall and heard a woman talking. At first I figured she was talking to a child, but it became clear quickly enough that she was on her phone. AND, she simply walked out of the stall, out of the rest-room and kept talking--without stopping to wash her hands. Now THAT grosses me out. Totally.

So I plug in my stuff, resign myself to the time which I live, because once I stop my half-hearted chuckling at what this world is coming to, I open my computer, check facebook, my email inbox, then begin writing this blog post.

The truth is, I love that it's possible to be instantly connected. I just don't want to always HAVE to be.

So, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll turn this off for a few hours.

But maybe I'll just check out a few more things before I do. Apparently, E has an article that's trending at the moment. Gotta check that out. Don't I?

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