I've been journaling for almost 40 years; writing by hand allows me to flow in a unique way that a voice recorder or keyboard cannot. With only one take, you can't go in reverse, replace the cursor, or insert parenthetical ramblings after the fact. You've also got to move fast, or momentum will grind to a halt.

I now realize how much time I spend popping off on my social-media platforms. While I have some tremendously witty friends, I need to turn my own satire into cash money. I may be freelance, but I can't give it all away for free. Uninterrupted in my efforts, I've had time to go back to half-finished essays and plays I haven't touched in years. Many of these are crap, which I will wait to post on Reddit.

Focused like a laser, I am checking items off my list: bills (requiring the archaic act of check-writing), toenail clipping, revising a book pitch for my publisher, a Home Depot run, an assignment for Shambhala Sun magazine which can finally get some peaceful attention.

My realtor pulls up in his Range Rover to show me a rental property. As I get in, I hand him a Washington map and an almanac. "If you don't mind, Kevin, I'd like to find the listings with these." Powering down his navigational system, he mutters, "This is gonna take awhile."

For 4,500 years or so, mapmakers have helped us navigate the world. But, lest you forget, for the first millennium cartographers thought the Earth was flat. Computer mapping started in the 1960s and GPS (global positioning systems) came along in the '70s, followed by Garmin receivers in the late '80s, MapQuest in the '90s, and finally, turn-by-turn navigation at the turn of the century.

"Seriously," Kevin whines, "if this was how I had to find stuff every day, I'd quit my job." Even though it makes me carsick, I bravely take over navigational duties. "Whip a U-ey, man."

"Are you kidding?" Kevin asks.

"Recalculating," I reply, thrashing the 12-foot map in my hands. Of this there is no doubt: Voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation is the greatest technological advancement of the Digital Age.


The walls of Dr. Sam Browd show an impressive array of diplomas, diplomatic schmoozing, and procreation. In addition to a lovely wife and daughter, one of his children looks like a gorilla.

"You've got some interesting family photos, doctor. How, uh . . . how old is that one?," I ask, pointing at a wrinkled infant.

"That's the baby gorilla from the [Woodland Park] zoo," he replies. "She had a neurological problem, so we operated on her. She did great." Thank God.

I meet with the young neurosurgeon at Seattle Children's Hospital to see if the Techno-Gorge might have damaged my brain. "I relate your experiment to my own life," Browd replies. "People are constantly texting and e-mailing and paging me, 24/7. At the end of the day, that's not healthy. My son is 18 months old — first thing he does is ask for the iPad. I'm a bit horrified by that — but also amazed. It has this innate reward. It's something basic that resonates. It's addict . . . I'm sorry," he smiles, "I've got to take this."

If anyone should be able to take a call mid-sentence, it's a brain surgeon. But I have a final question about Siri: Is she making my brain soft?

"Someone asked me the other day for my own parents' phone number," Browd replies. "I don't know it; it's programmed. You learn through experience, repetition, by doing things. If you're relying on technology to retain memories for you, essentially, that probably isn't good."

Shortly thereafter, I arrange to have Robbie hauled into the principal's office for a chat. "Hey," he says, clearly out of breath and probably thinking he'd been suspended (again). "What's up?"

I explain that I just wanted to touch base. "I'm five days in, and everything's so quiet. I don't quite know what to do with myself."

Robbie then tells me to calm the fuck down. "I mean, I understand. I have missed out on so many girls and parties — everything — because I'm not texting," he says. "So that sucks. But you just need to relax. All the drama on Facebook or whatever, it just used to get me in trouble. I didn't even know a lot of people who were posting on my wall. Now it's better, 'cause if someone wants to talk to me, they have to do it in person."

One of the people I like to hang out and listen to records with (in person) is my friend Michael Don Rico. Michael's been in the restaurant business for years and loves the way great food and wine can bring people together. He also thinks smartphones are sucking the life out of something important.

He proceeds to tell a story: "The other day I was opening a bottle of wine, and this woman mentioned an item on the menu: chanterelle mushrooms. People at the table started to discuss the word. Was it French? Had it been the name of a movie? Before the conversation could branch out, this guy pulls up the definition on Wikipedia: 'I know! I have the answer! Genus is Cantharellus formosus. Commonly known as chanterelle, or golden. Edible, meaty, nutty.' And the mystery was gone. The romance of that moment never had a chance to play out."

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7 comments
chrisanonymous
chrisanonymous

TL;DR 
OP is getting old and starts to hate on new technology.
Goes on a quest to reaffirm his POV.
Quotes Shakespeare at the end to complete ultimate cliché.

loosecannonsbluesban
loosecannonsbluesban

The possibility of a solar eruption from the Sun which hits the earth is a VERY real possibility.  A solar eruption recently occured that, had the trajectory of it been towards the earth, would have wiped out all electrical connectivity world wide, maybe even wiping a large portion of our atmosphere away!  So, we would truly have an apocolypse.  We are not prepareing for this and we really should.  Buildings should be built Hobbit style, underground with HVAC systems designed to produce water and oxygen and food in the interior.  We're like rats that when faced with certain death will busy themselves with non-important things, even knowing that the danger of dying is clear and present. 

Ted House
Ted House

I still don't have any type of smart phone, and i get by just fine thanks. No need to pay for internet on the go.

Joe Rollins
Joe Rollins

Get lost. Be less addicted to FB/Twitter.

ckrescho
ckrescho

What is the deal with that photo?

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @ckrescho 

 

Yeah that photo is more than a little creepy

 
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