Age brings with it many beneficial virtues: wisdom, experience, perspective and other respectable nouns. Obstinate vices grow wild, as well. It’s called being “set in my ways.”
I’ve become something of a Missourian at heart, if a South Carolinian by birth and residency. I’ve got this “show me” mentality. It always leaves me playing catch-up. I’m late to every rage. Hell, I was once late to MySpace, then YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, an iPhone and an iPod. I still don’t “skype” and don’t have a “tablet.” I don’t like to “chat.” I now have several “e-books” saved, but I don’t plan to read them until I’m on the road again. I like an honest-to-gosh book and a newspaper I can fold.
I kick. I scream. Eventually I catch up at just about the time to fall behind again. There are tax holidays and frozen interest rates. No payments till July! Ninety days, same as cash! Why can’t somebody in a position of power declare a freeze on technology for, oh, two weeks?
Technology is supposed to speed things up, but all it does is slow me down. I hate myself for letting social media occupy me so. Here I am tap-tapping away, and there are books to read. Hell, there are books to write! Songs, too! I haven’t written a song lately, mainly because I don’t feel like writing about sitting around hibernating. This will change soon when I start traveling to publicize my novel, The Audacity of Dope. I’m anxious to get started, partly because I want to make my writing career more successful and partly because I yearn for the kinds of encounters and observations that provide the fuel of creativity.
I wrote a song based on observing a young woman and her boyfriend standing at a bar while I was munching wings in a booth about five yards away. I haven’t seen either since. I don’t have a clue that my observations and the resulting tune, “Stuck in a Rut,” have any real validity. It’s a musical work of fiction, grounded in the same origins as the characters in The Audacity of Dope.
It’s just so easy, in this maniacally changing world, to miss the forest for the trees. Many people don’t see the forest because they’ve got their nose up against the bark and can’t even keep one tree in focus.
Or that’s my observation.
Get straight on Facebook? Why, you’ve just got to get on Twitter! Got a high-def TV? Why, you’ve got to switch to 3-D. What do you mean, you don’t do Netflix? Hey, want to join our Google+ chat? What’s your Snapchat ID? Just send me an Instagram.
I’m sure I bungled something in the italicized paragraph above. It’s because I don’t know what I’m writing about. It’s because I have a controlling interest in trying not to know for as long as I can.
I fear the great irony of the Internet. It opens a world of information, but most people only seem to pay attention to the world they want to see. It’s as if it’s a world of propaganda, not to mention paranoia, and for many, it’s just a choice of which brand of propaganda they want to believe. After clicking, linking, posting, tweeting, downloading, uploading and hacking, ask people why they believe something, and the answer is still, “I don’t know. I just do.” It’s usually a bit contrived. It’s often a bit dishonest. They tend to rationalize, but it still boils down to, “I don’t know. I just do.”
And, damn it to hell, I’m guilty, too. I can be stubborn, inflexible, unyielding and contrary by my lonesome. I don’t need technology’s help. Yet, still, I’ve got it.