Saturday, August 02, 2008

These Modern Times

Ever get trapped in the whose more San Francisco game? Fun, isn't it? It gets played a lot in the Marina at trendy new restaurants and in the mission at hipster cafes and the Sunset in donut shops. Stay here long enough and you will end up playing it too.
I finally found the answer that shuts everyone down instantly no matter what anyone else has said.
"I buy pot on Hippie Hill in Golden Gate park."
Good for you. But my answer is better.
"I am third generation born and raised in San Francisco."
Way to never get out there and see the world. Nope. I still have a better answer.
"I'm homeless."
That does it. That ends the stupid conversation in a hurry. Try it sometime.

In a Walgreen's recently, I came across this odd site. Behind an old woman pushing a shopping cart, a young girl furiously texted.
She had one of those phones with the fold out key board. The young girl was the old woman's helper I think. When ever the young girl looked up, the old woman stopped. Only after the young girl went back to her phone did the old woman move again. For a second though, it looked like the girl had this old lady on remote control.
I literally did a double take.

I understand text messaging is not going away. I use it. Just not on the level some people do. What drives me crazy is when I am having a conversation with a person and in the middle of a sentence, they pull out a phone they had on vibrate. They nod their head at you and throw in a lame, "Uh ha" but their thumbs are pumping away at a tiny key board as I wait for our conversation to resume.
It does. But then, right on cue, another text message must be answered. Sometimes, when I have asked, they tell me they are having a conversation with 3 other people as they talk to me.
Does all the medication people take for ADD make this possible? How can you have any meaningful connection if you are trying to keep three other conversations straight in your head? I can barely remain coherent during one conversation let alone three!
I don't want to sound like the old man here, but is anyone experiencing anything in real time any more? TiVo lets you zoom past commercials. Great.
Texting lets you have multiple conversations in play with a media that is largely hard wired to be passive aggressive. Awesome.
That is what I consider most text messages to be by the way, passive aggressive.
I still think that TiVo is witch craft. How do they stop a live show and then let you pick it up again? What alternate universe do we get shunted off to when that happens? I am only half serious here. I will watch the commercials because I feel like I am connected to other people by virtue of the fact that we are all experiencing this together. It's sad. I know. It's sad mostly that I feel connected to people because I watch the commercials. When I am in a group of people and I am not comfortable, I don't think of commercials or anything like that, it's just that you can imagine what is happening in millions of homes at once when a commercial comes on. I can't explain it. Just know that TiVo is evil and will be found to cause cancer just like cell phones do now but no one wants to know.
Have you thought about that? I asked myself one night what I would do if some giant well researched warning came out that cell phones, the backbone of modern communications, caused cancer. I would keep using mine. I would. People smoke and everyone understands what a hazard that is now.
I already have to go outside to have most conversations on my cell. I can keep the smokers company.
All this communication technology we have built has only succeeded in removing personal interaction. Cell phones, e-mail and text messaging is a way to avoid conversation. Not help it. And when we find that our world is lonely, we sign up for computer dating. Call it whatever you want, but it is computer dating.
We have removed poetry from the world. Do you know what I mean by that? Nothing is allowed to happen naturally anymore. When was the last time you heard of a friend meeting some in public? It's almost weird to hear such stories. Internet commercials for hot girls wanting to meet me flash by in the margins of myspace and facebook, my spam folder is over flowing with pleas from other hot girls that want to meet me. All the girls they use to market these services do not look like they need such services. They are always young hot and sometimes partially dressed.
You can't meet a guy?
I tried it once. It was a long process, but eventually I had a "date." I put it in quotation marks because we were not physically in the same place. It happened entirely with the aid of a camera and our computers. In the middle of the conversation she picked up her phone to text message someone. This is intimacy now? This is what passes for getting to know someone?
The goal of the second date is no longer the blow job. Nope. The goal of the second date seems to be seeing them in person.
"Dude, last night I got to third base with this new chick I am seeing."
"Third base! She sent you a photo of herself on her phone? Damn!"
"If I play my cards right, I might get to see her live!"
This is modern romance now.


Elise said...

Woo hoo! Remote controlled granny races! Sign me up.

Uh, to hold the remote, dude. I'm not that old, yet.

Anonymous said...

Makes me wonder what else we're doing by remote control. I remember seeing things in a "book store" in the Castro that proclaimed they were "wireless!"

Anonymous said...

Once I texted my friend and asked, "Hey, how have you been?" He said "Read my blog at"