Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Same Same, But Different! Pt. 13: Plugged Into The Grid

Cell phone in each hand, this woman was lost between them as she waited for a bus on a commute route in Nonthaburi

At the risk of sounding like the late 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney, have you ever wondered why so many people have figuratively and literally bought into that sheep-like mentality which allows cell phones, iPads, Notebooks and all they entail - voicemail, texting, tweeting, facebook posts and the likes - to herd them around like the e-sheepdogs they have grown to be? "Grown to be" is too kind, really; mutated or metastasized is probably more accurate.

It's not merely notifications of things in real life, if you stop to think about it. It's the breathless reporting of information relatively few of us really need to know. My life is rich enough without hearing that Jodie Foster allegedly "came out" on the Golden Globes awards from 30 different sources. I couldn't even tell you how many Kardashians there are, let along how many of them are regularly appearing in the tabloids, and for that I'm grateful. I'm told there are hundreds of sites out there about them, in addition to the regular entertainment sites that seem to think over-indulged drunken housewives slugging it out are newsworthy. Really?  Deliver us all.

OK, I admit I'm a little grumpy this morning, but if it isn't too much information I'll share that it doesn't seem as though I can stop to pee today without some device in my home chirping, beeping, chiming and/or blinking an alert of some kind, and it's made me long for the "simpler" times of 30 years ago, when someone was able to contact you on your land line at home, if you chose to answer it, and otherwise could leave a message on your answering machine that you'd hear when you got home - or while you stood there looking at it and deciding if you wanted to pick up and talk to the person calling.

Nowadays far too many folks are tethered to their cell phones. Those of you who are in the company of anyone under the age of, say, 30 knows they're plugged into the grid almost every moment of their time awake. I'd be willing to bet some sleep with their hands together, fingers curled, with their thumbs furiously twitching as if they're texting in their dreams.

It's the same anywhere around the globe where technology has taken hold, most likely. I know it has in Thailand, where cell phones are as ubiquitous as rice cookers. Let's see a show of hands of those who have had a Thai person moving through pedestrian traffic with you and they'll stop ahead of you and begin using their cell phone.  Yup, I thought so. Most all of you.  To my way of thinking it's the ones that do it at the end of a moving escalator, causing folks to bunch up behind them that are the worst.

I saw the woman up top today from an elevated walkway, and at first glance I thought perhaps she'd upgraded from an older cell phone to a newer one and was transferring info, but after zooming in I could see she was actually texting on both of them, and afterwards was texting on one and talking on the other. Eeks.  I hope she didn't miss her bus when it lumbered by in a cloud of exhaust.

I've seen people in Thailand talking on their cell phones while driving city buses, feeding meat to tigers in the zoo, spot welding high on a pole ledge, running a BigC check-out register, driving countless autos and motocy, even shoveling up elephant dung dropped along a trail at a tourist spot. We won't even mention the male and female club workers who keep their cell phones tucked into spots that would discourage you from asking to borrow them to make a call.

Leave the shoveling elephant dung out of it and it could easily be same same, but only slightly different here in the U.S.

As for me, I'm unplugging for the day. The sun was shining the last time I looked up, and I think I'll go for a walk.  Without my phone.


Was Once said...

Then you'll like this article:

khunbaobao said...

I did, thanks! Hadn't read anything from this guy before.

He's "edgy" without being nasty about it, and I got a chuckle from some of the bits he used in the piece.