In the not too distant future, I will be dead. I am not trying to be morose, just factual.
In a career that has spanned over 30 years, I have learned not to overestimate people but have found more often than not that people let you down. I have faced many adversities and found that reliance on others typically ends poorly.
Most recently I spent my working hours with a real estate management company where I discovered the new youth culture.
I don’t dislike the new youth culture, I am just confounded by it.
I, like so many others my age, am a social being. I am grateful for the conversations with colleagues, friends and family. It has taken a great deal of time for me to learn to converse with my adult children, young coworkers and anyone that offers me their social media handles.
Every morning I spend twenty minutes or so reviewing my social media content and am always amazed at some of the bizarre postings.
Long gone are the days when someone would take out their wallet and regale me with photos of ones not so perfect children. I could quickly affirm the owners’ frustration with child-rearing and then move on to the next round of discussion.
Now we all publish our stories to the net and wait for a response from the myriad of visitors to our social media sites.
Twitter: Johnny just told me that his father is ill and would I send thoughts and prayers.
I don’t know Johnny, nor do I know his father, I am not a religious man and have not prayed since the birth of my first child, and that was more of a prayer to the universe for a successful delivery. Johnny and his father had better not count on my prayer because the big man upstairs has a lot on his plate and my prayer wouldn’t even be an appetizer.
On Facebook, I can find a variety of social discussion topics but I still have a hard time wrapping my head around seeing pictures of violence, destruction and pet kittens. I personally love the last one.
No one says hello when meeting in public anymore. People scurry about their lives connected by wires and wireless signals, oblivious to the world around them. They are fully immersed in conversation with their phone and perhaps someone in the distance. Some have tuned out the real world and instead live vicariously through others online.
A simple nod goes unnoticed or is greeted with a scowl but rarely does a conversation ensue.
I often wonder how my grandfather would have greeted the new online society.
He was always a social person who detested talking on the telephone. He would go out of his way to visit friends and regale them with stories of a simpler time when humans conversed and played together. He was always ready with a smile and handshake for people in the street and could often be found at the local coffee shop swapping stories about his children, grandchildren and local politics.
He would arrive home after his outings and regale us with stories of Mildred’s son who just became a doctor or Harry’s struggles with the local veterans’ affairs office.
He would sit with pen and paper and write long-winded letters to friends and family, local politicians and anyone else that concerned him.
Yes, this was a man who knew how to interact with society, and not just as a social spectator.
As I get older I often think about him and how he shaped his small part of the world and how he would fit into today’s wired world.
I wonder if he could see beyond the tethered society we live in and find a way to survive in a world that has turned its back on interpersonal equations.
I like so many others my age are struggling to make sense of a society that judges success by the number of followers on one’s Twitter account, or by an individual’s ability to shape our world through online interactions.
Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and dive in or be left behind.
George Bernard Shaw said it best when describing progress;
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
I am an unreasonable man.
Guest Author Bio
A small town storyteller trying to make sense in a wired world.