"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com

"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com
Still available on Amazon for Nook and Kindle, hard copy booklett to re-print November 2013

Monday, October 10, 2011

Am I in Oz? I know I'm Not in Kansas, or Arizona!

We spent a wonderful week in Washington...Seattle, actually Redmond...the land of Microsoft and computer geeks.  The last few times I got on a plane I landed in the land of tan and flat landscape, Arizona....this was green lush and beautiful even if there was a bit of rain. 

One day we went by bus to the Sea hawks game and I noticed it was strangely quiet.  As each person entered the bus and sat they immediately pulled out their phone...(most had Microsoft ones) and began to browse and put their heads down not glancing right or left. 

"A convenient way to avoid human contact." was the comment of our youngest child, Michael, who is a Psychology degree graduate and is always looking at people in a analytical way.  I began to speculate what will happen in 20 years or so.

The sense of touch will begin to diminish.  Vocal cords will wither and our only communication will by by text, computer, or some other yet not invented form of information transmission.  So then, I thought, "What if energy is cut off, by some natural disaster...would people talk and actually look at one another.  Eye contact which in the past was used as a way to determine honesty and conviction will once again be instituted as a new an innovative way to know the person sitting next to them.

In past college classes I've learned that communication, (I mean words, spoken language), are only a small part of letting a person know what you want or how you feel about a subject.  Body language, tone and timber of voice, the tip of a head...or how one looks can tell another person volumes.  Do you dress differently for a job interview, or a date?  All of these factors feed into understanding one another. Or maybe that is the purpose, afraid to make a commitment, or not willing to be hurt of disappointed, friendships in the world of cyber communication will be a thing of the past.  Our clinical cold inanimate communication by text or tweet is so lacking in emotion or true understanding it is amazing to me we have allowed this to happen.

Another thing happening with communication is the way we read books.  On a phone, i-pad, Zune or other device...straining our eyes to avoid the glare so we scurry to darkened cave like areas (including our homes) so we can see what is on the screen.  No longer can we enjoy the pleasure of page turning and getting closer to the end of the book, or regretting that a good read will soon be over, No! unless you scroll to the end of the data transmitted to your device, you have no idea if the book is 100 or 1000 pages (unless you begin to measure a book in gigabytes instead of pages) and you have no idea when to anticipate the conclusion of a story. 

I love feeling the paper between my fingers, the smell of the binding. Today most book stores are closing or gone and soon we will no longer have the joy of browsing  through the thousands of written chunks of thought and the records of days gone by, remembered by one or many. (I hope my novel will be included in that wonderful medium before paper and pages are gone and passe.)

Library hours have been cut in most cities and access to resources is becoming an on-line activity. (no one buys an encyclopedia any more...When our five kids were young I scrimped and managed to put in our budget the collecting of each volume of the cheap little encyclopedia books sold at one of the grocery stores...I don't think I could ever find the index or the xyz volume) The necessity of those wonderful stacks of records may soon be gone.

I worked as a librarian during college.  I knew the Dewey decimal system and could return books to their proper places in record speed.  I loved the football mandatory study hall nights where I met my future husband Patrick who made extra work for me by checking out all sorts of literature, only to return the volumes in a few minutes so he could talk to me.

Now substituted for all of these visual, tactile and even olfactory sensations are circuits and bits contained in smaller and smaller receptacles holding the words of others.  And just think of what would happen if the downloads, power sources, instant e-mails (no one can write a decent letter anymore)  texts and happy faces and the new language of tweets and face book were to shut down?

Something to think about....

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