In a world wrought with technology, we are abandoning our social skills; personal connections are hanging by threads as the ropes of technology grow taut. Essentially, we are inching toward isolation from ourselves and the rest of humanity. We teeter on the tightrope, oblivious of the depths below us. What happens when we can no longer look each other in the eye? I believe that if there were a way to physically insert oneself into the virtual world, many would attempt that feat. Most are nearly there already. We are sleepwalkers.
I am not very old, but Once Upon a Time…
People read books that required the labor of turning a page. News was gathered by word and on paper. Television was our “screen time.” We had to wait a week for the next episode of our favorite shows. They were not streamable. It was tradition in our family to celebrate Friday night with pizza and a movie. We ordered five dollar pizza from a human employee, and chose a VHS tape from Blockbuster. We always followed the policy of “Be kind. Rewind.” Today, we have a wide selection of streamable movies and shows. We don’t even have to leave the comfort of our living rooms. Pizza costs forty dollars and we order it from our mobile phones with an automated “employee.”
There were no mobile phones. “Selfies” weren’t possible. Photographs were printed and people returned in several days to retrieve and pay for them. One hour photos were a breakthrough. There were no texts. Students discreetly passed notes on folded college ruled paper. Personally, I prefer that method. There was a greater risk of getting caught, and that was exciting. Finding handwritten notes in our lockers was fun.
The internet did not exist. Knowledge was obtained from encyclopedias. Social media was unfathomable. Eyes were not glued to phones. People counted their steps without fancy wrist watches, and looked up to observe their surroundings. Trees were climbed; children swam without long sleeves.
Call me old fashioned, but I like to look at people when I speak to them. My husband makes fun of me for “bothering” strangers by requesting advice from fellow grocery shoppers about their preferences for household products. Sometimes I need fresh eyes when in search of an item I have probably been staring at for a few minutes without success. When my husband and I get lost, instead of driving around in circles listening to a frustrating automated voice, I ask a human for directions. I start conversations and no one is a stranger; everyone is a person. I value “face time,” over Face Time.
Today, we so heavily rely on technology that when it crashes, we are lost. Once, my husband left the house without informing me of his whereabouts, left his phone, and his car was gone. I panicked when I realized I had no way to reach him. Impatiently, I awaited his return. Twenty years ago, I may not have reacted this way. He could go about his business and I would not worry. Technology has created this panic. Now, immersed in the virtual world, we are crippled when it fails us. Has “face time” become extinct?”