Monday, January 30, 2012

Still Waiting for the New Screen

I paced the floor waiting for the post to deliver my new laptop screen. I'd waited for weeks; it had to come today.  An overweight man pushing the far end of middleage took the chance to chide me from the back of my imagination. "We're all over-connected today! You live your life in front of a screen. What did kids do before Facebook?" I stopped, looked back to images of my mother in my four year old gaze. How did she do it? She talked on our sky blue rotary phone and later the cream dial wall-mount.  She untwisted the tangling coils ritualisticly. She watched movies, watched the coverage of videogame wars in the middle east. She met with neighbors daily.  I followed under foot. I made up elaborate storylines for Barbie Dolls and My Little Ponies, picked dandilions and came when I was called.

I realized that so many objects, both significant and mundane, present in those memories had all but dissappeared. All week I've walked past stacks of phone books in plastic bags, ignored on porches across the city. Who uses a phonebook anymore? There's DexOnline! Not to mention 411. Television? Movies? In nearly seven years we've done without a connection, opting for Netflix and Hulu. My parents subscribed to the local newspaper and watched the nightly broadcast religiously. Today we tap into Google News. Having grown up with a radio in every room and each subsiquent car, their absense has been filled seamlessly with Spotify, Pandora, and even my local station has 24 hour streaming. The mention of handwritten memos vs. emails would be redundant at this point. And where my mother needed our next door neighbor to keep up on the latest gossip, I've got Facebook.  The very cosmos of information that existed in the 20th century has today been consolidated to a single device.

So where does that put me, during 2012, as I wait for my new screen to arrive? Not simply back 10 or 20 years. I've got a three pound aluminum paperweight and a boredom unseen since the industrial revolution.

Written after hours on Jason's other work computer. 

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