Sunday, March 13, 2016

Why Does the Digital World Leave Me Cold?

Does anybody else besides me feel left out in the cold by the digital world? I like it in a very limited way: I like my desktop computer because my screen is big and it’s easy to see, and I can send emails to my friends and keep up with people on facebook – and I guess my android phone is cool because it’s good if you’re driving somewhere to tell people if you’re going to be late. But outside of that – I have never learned how to use a laptop, which I find frightening in its design – my fingers are too big and I don’t like the look or feel of it – nor do I know how to use an iPad, and I don’t ever want to learn. I don’t want to look at screens all day. I don’t know how any of these things plug in and I get freaked out when people come over to my house with their laptops and ask me what my WiFi password is, because not only do I not know what my password is, I seriously don’t even understand what WiFi is and I’m not just saying it – I don’t know. And yesterday I heard somebody say “hot spot” for the first time, and I had no idea what he was talking about. The digital world makes me feel like I just got here from another planet. I tune it out, just like I tune out everything from the 21st century – all of the horrible movies and t.v. and fake/non-objective “news” and the screaming World Wrestling Federation-style political debates we have now. We really lost something when we became digital. If you’re not interested in the digital world, as I am not, the world makes you feel uncomfortable about yourself.

I was sitting in the faculty lounge at one of the places where I teach last week, and I mentioned to some teachers that I have a desktop computer at home and that my landline attaches itself to my DSL and they started laughing, and I didn’t know why. When I apply for jobs, I have to spend all day filling out an online application which then goes into some black hole. Of course the digital world made a lot of things easier, but it also made the world cold. If you don’t believe it, go to the movies and see the emotionless, dark superhero movies and futuristic sci-fi set in a dystopian future which is actually today. Thanks to the digital world people – including me – can now only process information that comes in little soundbytes. I noticed that even with my limited use of digital things, I don’t have the patience for anything anymore. I used to write a lot -- screenplays and books -- but it’s been about three years since I wrote anything substantive and I can’t even pay attention to movies or t.v. – or people talking to me – anymore. My attention span is now completely shot. Thank you, computerized world. Does anybody else have this feeling?

I recently got hired for a temporary job, and I went to the new faculty orientation. After sitting through three hours with the IT guy who told us all of the new programs and passwords we had to learn in order to do what otherwise was an easy job, I felt so overwhelmed (for real) that I felt numb and light-headed, and I had to get out of the room and breathe. I looked around the room and everybody else looked calm. Everybody was just accepting of this gibberish. Why are they accepting? I called the lady who hired me and (nicely) told her that she had to find somebody else, which she did.

Is anybody else freaked out by computerized things or just me? I honestly hope the digital world will go away. I like organic things. I like the sunset, and books, and movies shot on celluloid that are made in 1933, and hand drawn animation and paintings. Thanks to the internet we can now get anything we want, but nothing is special anymore -- nothing is an event anymore. Anything that comes from ones and zeroes has nothing to do with me. My heart and my soul are not made from ones and zeroes. Are yours?

That's all.