We live in a time of technological blessings. Overseas and missing someone? Why not face-time them? Want to show your conventional friends that you’re life is so interesting and alternative that you’re at an exclusive art show ? Why not check in so that your fellow Facebookers are aware of how damn jealous they are of you. How about meeting your soul-mate or something? Join a dating website..
*START RANT*. I was approached by a friend not too long ago. Aware of my very single status, she told me about Tinder. Tinder is a dating app for your iPhone. Yes, you read that right. You can now start dating from a phone app, how spoiled are we, huh? The catchphrase, “Find out who likes you nearby,” it makes my insides recoil in horror. I don’t really know exactly how it works, and quite frankly, I surely don’t give a damn.
Now, while I’m not condescendingly insulting those who in reality really need online dating, I for one, just can’t keep up with today’s social lifestyle. Sometimes our lives are so hectic, chasing that promotion, tending to our kids, part time student-part time waitress, whatever life throws at us, there is always an ultimatum. *Angelic harps playing in 3,2,1* Online dating. If you really don’t have a social life, no one is judging, why not try FARMERSONLY.COM (I know, I know, I’m giggling too). eHarmony, Black people meet, Christian mingle. Take your pick dearest, the combinations are interminable!
There’s this joke that takes place between a child and his father, something along the lines of this:
Kid: Daddy, how did you and mommy meet?
Dad: Well, you see son, it all started when your mother liked my selfie…
I cannot tell a lie, I laughed the first time I heard it -maybe not a full hearty laugh, more like I breathed in and out a lot louder and faster than usual- I wouldn’t be surprised if this answer became the new norm. As a 19 year old, amongst my peers I know I’m thought to be démodé. I’m proud to be that way. So picture yourself at a local coffee shop and taking a break from reading The Alchemist-cause you’re in a need of a push to pursue your enigmatic destiny- to take a sip of your soy latte, and suddenly you see them. Your heart palpitates so loud it’s resounding in your ears. You spot his face. Or hers-whichever way you roll- staring at you with heart shaped pupils just a few tables away. You look away, sheepishly, putting that damned annoying strand of hair behind your ear only to look up again. You both lock gazes, your spirits exit your bodies, amalgamating ,dancing together as angels throw tufts of heart shaped clouds into the atmosphere as they sing:
“Yes I believe in love at first sight
‘Cause I’m sure it just happened to me”
Whatever, I don’t care what you’re thinking… It could still happen… But my point remains! What has happened to interacting on a intimate level? You know, the one where instead of texting someone vigorously all day, you call and ask to meet up. We hide so much of ourselves behind our phones and laptops that we’re losing our interpersonal competence. That’s where my worry-agitation lies. And while I definitely don’t mean EVERYONE, I am most definitely referring to my age group, teenagers and younger kids who are growing up not knowing what writing a personal letter to someone means. They’re missing out on going to the park to make friends and all that other stuff we did as children. Take my 11 year old nephew for example, he DREADS going out. Hates it. Cries even. He just can’t stand to be away from his Ipad or game console. I do applaud him for being a book worm (proud aunt) but his interest in literature has become minuscule due to all this technology *sad face* His younger siblings are following his steps as well. My 11 year old nephew was born when digital cameras were just out, he has a whole album dedicated to him. From infancy to somewhere when he was about 7 or so. The other two? Not so much. My niece was angry while we ogled my nephew’s photo albums. All his pictures were there, in it’s true form. Then we look down and see her crying, demanding us to show her her photo albums. Our response? “What? Honey all your baby pictures are up on Facebook.” That’s when I came up with internet babies. Kids who are being born in the time where physical albums aren’t demanded as much. Why buy albums when Facebook has no limit to the amount of albums you can create. Our kids, or future kids are going to grow old enough to not have to search the attic for old photos of them. They can holographic-ally will be able to go on dates with people (don’t judge me, technology will never cease to shock us), this leads to horrible internet slang, bad spelling/grammar (lyk dis) and last but not least, we’ll have this whole generation of uncommunicative, iPhone staring zombies.
Brunch with a friend means brunch with the top view of someone’s head. If they’re not tagging your exact location, they’re instagramming your food, taking selfies for Facebook or just texting away. And that conversation you had in mind? Yeah, good luck trying to compete for their attention. All in all while all this technology is a blessing, it’s quite insidious. It’s slowly putting an end to communications, natural encounters -serendipity anyone?- social skills and maybe even our relationships. I for one know that as old fashioned as this may sound, I want to meet a guy in the most organic way. Maybe at the beach, in the subway, local farmers market, just at any moment I’m looking away from my phone. Challenge yourself, take one slight second to look up from your device, from aimlessly browsing through old text messages or refreshing your dead news feed-and you could hold off on double tapping that picture of a filtered watermelon- just one second is all it takes to make genuine eye contact with someone not on your screen. How about an honest smile to those around you? That is all I’m really trying to get to. Enjoy the gift of being out and not worrying about what everyone else is posting up. It’s exhausting, actually. Take time to do yoga, go get “dat ass” by heading to the gym, read a damn book, or learn to cook, make some bad ass swans out of origami. Just anything that doesn’t revolve around your phone or laptop. You’ll feel better, promise. You’ll feel more organically connected rather than cyber-ly(?)connected. Chat up a stranger rather than befriending a internet stranger. Write a letter to a friend (maybe I’m getting carried away here?) You’ll learn the power of raw human interaction, which personally I believe should never die out.
Now about those nooks or kindles, why not go to the library, you know? Like what if you’re in the aisle reading The Road. Then, to relieve that cramp in your neck, cause you’re so intrigued and can’t seem to look away from the pages due to your intriguing desire to live bohemian-ly, you circle your head around and you spot his face. Or hers-whichever way you roll- staring at you with heart shaped pupils just a few aisles away…