Thursday, September 29, 2011

Losing my Plugged-in Nation

     I'm about to go into uncharted territory, camping in the mountains on the first frosty weekend of autumn in no electronics land with no plug ins or phones, wifi or anything. Gulp. Nothing, but me and a couple of my favorite kind of books to read, the real paper and cover ones; with my luck, the e-reader would lose power in a good scene and I'd have to leave the site to plug in!

     Preparing for this trip makes me realize, I've walked the same two-mile route several times a week for years and remember stopping to chat with various people and catching up on neighborhood gossip. The walks would take twice as long, but it felt refreshing connecting with friends. For some time now, I find myself waving as I pass their homes, chattering away on the cell phone, checking messages, or staying connected electronically instead of stopping for a moment.

     As a nation, we're becoming a society who can't hold an intelligent conversation face to face with another person, where writing a letter is a forgotten art and even e-mails are turning into Twitter feed messages. People can sit in the same room all night and text each other instead of talking. I'll be the first to take blame after sitting at the computer chatting for an hour with someone who lives within walking distance from my house.

     The solution isn't an easy one for the plugged-in generation, but well within everyone’s grasp. Instead of Googling the size of Snooki's shoes, reconnect with society unplugged. Your fingers may tremble as you back away from the smart phone, but I have faith in all of you to remember there are other real people outside your cubical and living under your roof. I for one will reconnect with my neighbors.

     On second thought, I had better grab a couple more books off the to be read pile. I love reading by the campfire. It might even make me forget how much I enjoy the daily routine of sending events, chatting with my friends on Facebook and the luxury of indoor plumbing : )

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