Thursday, September 22, 2011

Halfway to Techno Dead

Last night in my English Literature course, the girl next to me pulled one of those amazing I-gadgets out of her book bag. She began to tap away on her high tech marvel while simultaneously checking in on Kim Kardasian’s Twitter update and downloading a sales flyer for knock-off designer shoes.   

I looked down at my workspace. Out of my ten-year old book bag, I had pulled a clipboard with a legal pad and an assortment of pens, highlighters, and a Sharpie marker (I love them.). I might as well have pulled out a dried piece of animal hide and an inkpot. I stacked my textbooks in a pleasing configuration while simultaneously counting my writing instruments.

Several young folks flipped open their amazing computering machines while simultaneously looking for an outlet. Power cords began to creep and crawl over every available surface seeking the mother ship of power sources. A scuffle broke out over the last plug. A couple of the students posted an update on Facebook about the viscous lack of cheap, available electricity created by magic solar panels, attached to windmills, powered by Keebler elves.

On the way to school, I was informed via my car radio that studies show that Facebook users over fifty years old have a harder time adjusting to changes on the social networking site than the average two-year old. I scoffed. Then I scorned. Then I yelled at the radio.

“It isn’t that I can’t figure out the new face of Facebook. It’s that I don’t want to. I don’t have time to figure out the new Facebook, because I’m halfway to dead. My time is precious.” I balled up my fist and shook it at the invisible radio waves floating around in space.

In the car next to me, a teenager type flipped open a cell phone with her chin, punched in a series of numbers with her nose, and then weaved into my lane of traffic.
“Hey!” I yelled. “Go kill someone your own age. I’m ALREADY halfway to dead.”

Later, in my Major English Writings night class our professor informed us that in her day classes it was becoming harder and harder for her to find students who had heard of the book of Genesis in the Bible, let alone anyone who had read it. For a minute I felt smug. Then I felt sad. Then I wondered if for all our technological advances we are becoming a people without a culture or a past or an identity.

And here I sit halfway to dead and me without an I-phone or I-pod or I-chip in my brain . . . and my husband stole my Kindle. All I have is fifty years worth of everything I’ve read, experienced, lived, learned, touched, done, and loved—way too much to Tweet.

Linda (No-Tweet) Zern 

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