I felt like an alien today! No, really, it’s true. You see I was driving to work when my car suddenly coughed, heaved, and died.
“What! No, come on.” I turned the ignition off and tried to restart it. Nothing. Not a sound. Unbelievable, the car had only three thousand miles on it. It was only four weeks old and still had its showroom shine.
Thank God for current technology as I had my cell phone in my hand a moment later, yammering at the dealership that I was stuck in the middle of nowhere sitting on the hood of my brand-new car when I should be sitting inside it!
The dealership sent a tow truck and forty minutes later I was at the dealership and the car was whisked into the shop. With nothing to do but wait, I jumped onto a bus and deposited my dollar. There was a small country dinner up the road that served the best breakfast in Central Florida.
The bus was packed. I moved along to the back and took a seat next to a fashionable looking woman. I was marveling to myself that the last time I was on a public bus was about thirty years ago.
With a smile I turned to my bus partner to share this with her, but she was texting someone and I didn’t want to be rude. The smile faded from my lips and I looked at my own iPhone. It was while studying my reflection in the black screen that I noticed how quiet the bus was.
Don’t get me wrong, the bus was a true 1990’s beast, roaring like a banshee as we barreled down the highway. The gears ground as the driver shifted, and great bellows of black exhaust ruined the driver’s day behind us. Outside the traffic and horns added their own morning music. It was the people. They were quiet.
I turned to comment to the person sitting across the isle from me, be he was listening to something on his iPod and had his eyes closed. Looking around the bus, I noted that everyone was either listening to some type of iPod device, texting, or playing with some electronic device.
The bus ground to a noisy stop and I exited the bus. It pulled away leaving me encircled in black smoke. I entered the restaurant feeling a bit depressed and lonely. The host came by and led me to my booth.
The place was busy with waitresses dashing about and people either being seated or leaving. Yet, there remained a strange silence. Looking around I noticed the same problem. The majority of the people were playing with their gizmos and gadgets. I shook my head sadly, the tables and booths occupied by couples suffered from the same phenomenon.
Maybe the couples were texting each other? What a sad, sad world we are turning into. Don’t get me wrong. I really do love my techno gadgets. Today was a prime example of how wonderful technology is. I broke down and was able to phone for help in a remote area, something I wasn’t able to do the last time I broke down in 1992.
You gotta love all the technology available to us. I believe it has helped us in so many ways, but it is also isolating us. Today I felt like an outsider, like an alien being visiting another planet or time period.
I am a person who is astute to the environment around me and notice subtle changes. I tend to think about new products as they hit the market and try to see how it may affect us in the future. I also believe that everything happens for a reason, and that we meet people for a reason. But how can you meet people if they are so absorbed in their devices?
I entered the return bus more depressed then when I began my breakfast excursion. This time I plopped down beside an elderly woman. I didn’t even bother trying to speak with the woman. Her voice startled me.
“Are you gonna whip out one of those thingamajigs like everyone else?”
“I hate those things,” she admitted. “They’re like little monsters that eat away people’s brains. It sickens me to see my grandkids held captivated by their portable phones and games. I tell you. Those kids are the laziest things.”
She pounded the end of her cane into the floor to emphasize her frustration. “Go out and play, I tell them. Play? They’d rather sit on their expanding rear, eat junk food and play video games or social networks with their friends! Social Network, why talk on the computer or phone when their friends live right next door?”
I nodded in understanding. “I agree. I was just thinking today that I feel like an alien. No one talks anymore, and when they do they have this need to stop and start texting someone.”
“It is sad,” she agreed. The bus stopped at the dealership and I got up. “It was nice meeting you, Mr. Alien.”
“And you.” I said smiling.