The Travesty of the Disconnected
In cars, with designer labels, with 1 month old phones we are a nation, a culture, engrossed with the technology to make us more efficient. We have wireless signals, planners, cameras, phones, date books, and address rolled into one. We have fuel efficient cars, biodegradeable grocery bags, eco-conscious chemicals, steroid free chicken, kosher meat, smokeless tobacco, easy birth control, and an appetite that remains hungry for the next big thing.
I myself have bounced from art house progressive, bleeding heart liberal, Christian conservative, fiscally responsible, investor, artist, writer, filmmaker, to philosopher. The epochs of my life are inconsequential to the greater movement within organized society that highlights the fact, that our very core, that in a room full of friends we are essentially lonely but not alone.
The major themes of success in life can be quantified by the collection of trophies that justify that success. There are the toys, the house, the financial accounts, and the trophy wife. But in traffic, staring foward, our minds wander to what is next. Whatever that is.
I was at a bar a few nights ago with some friends, and as the designated driver, and a buzz from being tired and all the water I was drinking, I began to zone out in the common way one does at 1 am. I studied the strangers there at that bar. Although their appearances, and ethnicity varied in degrees that are too numerous to count. There was one thing they all had, the LOOK. The look of wondering: "Is this it.?" Meaning is this the THIS, I though I was going to satisfy by coming here tonight.
In muted lights, overbearing music that can be often lip-synced/sung a long with during chorus and the occasional nudge, jostle, and bump from people pushing their way to put in the drink order, the look of disconnect is evident. It is a look that I believe is the reflection of reality smacking in the face, that their life is here and its not exactly what they wanted. But it will do for now. It will have to do for now.
Occasionaly a smile will erupt. A raucous shout. A high five. A greeting of how have you been? A side shifting eye. Another sip. An empty glass. But in between all these moments is a point of the lonely. In this room here at this bar, the lonely come to be togther to be even more isolated. The solitude accetuated by the energy, the feeling, and vibe of a room that bereves us because: "this is the place. Now is the time. You should be loving this." And we feel none of that.
The devices of bar, internet, myspace, ipod, cell phones, cars, glass, cubicles, apartments, and text messages create divisions for who we are at our very core. Each one of those provides a place where in our fear of acceptance, in our fear of our demons, we hide in these compartments to protect ourselves from the human contact of someone in our life. As I type this into the technoverse, I am alone, my wife sleeps 26 feet from me. There is no music except the constant whir of passing cars. I feel very comfortable. I am(for now) in control. I can urinate on my tv if I so desired. I can insult ethnic groups, football teams, politicians, and the go against the grain of popular culture with a tye dye shirt and get away with it.
Where is the answer to our civil dilmemna of isolationist policy? We do everything online. A chat, a message, an email has taken the place of a porch session, a hangout under the hood, a BBQ. And I am as guilty as anything for all these and this blog. Proving first and foremost that I am a slave to being alone. And if you are reading this, than you are too.
Till next time,