Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Being an unashamed Luddite*

The world gets more and more bizarre to me, and more and more in thrall to all the computerized gadgets being invented by the day to satisfy some never-satisfied appetite for the new.  I live near an Apple store and have seen the queues building up outside its doors on the days some new gadget is put on sale.  Presumably each of these must incorporate some additional feature considered essential by its buyers, a symbol of conspicuous consumption if there ever was one.

I am at the opposite end of this spectrum of a desire for new computer gadgets, having been lent an iPhone a short while ago only to hand it back when I could never learn its uses, and retreated back to a mobile phone apparently so outdated as to be out of the dark ages, - and only used by me for emergences.  And then only reluctantly because I need to put on my spectacles to see what I am doing, which means ferreting around in a bag, and then, because of my bad hearing, being unable to hear the person I am trying to contact because of all the traffic noise. 

Admittedly I am not a neutral observer of the computer scene, particularly, as happened recently, when I am sitting close to somebody in a coffee shop who is engaged in simultaneous computer-driven activities.  For there I am enjoying my morning coffee with my book open in front of me when a young woman rushes into the café, plonks herself down opposite me (and the tables are quite narrow and intended for groups of people sitting closely with each other), talking all the while on her phone.  With one hand she holds the phone against her ear, with the other she fusses around in her bag to get out her iPad.  Talking all the while and passing the phone from ear to ear as she tries to open her computer, at the same time somehow she manages to interrupt herself for long enough to place her order with the waitress.  The she starts tapping the keys on her computer rather frantically, whilst taking off her coat.  By now I am watching fascinated by her ability to multitask – to talk and to type and to take off her coat, but then comes the coup de theatre.  Her coffee and a plate of toast arrives, and somehow to my amazement, by dint of moving the phone to which she is still taking from hand to hand, or holding it by her shoulder against her ear she manages to release one hand enough to pick up a knife and butter her toast, admittedly rather clumsily, but still sufficiently to be able to snatch at it, interspersed by gups of coffee, all the while still talking on the phone and tapping on the computer.

By now I am so jittery myself from all these frantic movements opposite me that I decide I have had enough and leave. I saw her again a few days later, still frantically engaged in all the same activities. Not once has she even exchanged a glance with me or the waitress serving her.  She is in a networking bubble all on her own.

I wonder what this is doing to her Earth element, as it tries to take in and process the information pouring in to her through phone and computer, as well as the food and drink which is there to nourish her.  I can visualize this poor element desperately trying to carry out its work, but not sure what to do first.  It certainly didn’t help my own Earth element, which couldn’t process what I was watching and had to leave.

 * A person opposed to new technology



No comments:

Post a Comment