Friday, November 27, 2009

Electronic Remediation

I'm pretty sure, back in 1978 or so, that I almost became the first "death by cellphone" victim. A perfectly innocent pedestrian, minding my own business, not to mention the law, crossing an intersection with the light. Suddenly, an asshole appears, intent upon inattentive driving due to talking on the cellphone. The asshole had turned right on a red light, was holding one of those "bricks" in one hand, was losing control of the wheel with the other, and was, all the while, I swear, narrating to the other person on the line "Hang on a minute, I think I'm gonna hit this guy!"

"DRIVE YOUR CAR!" "DROP THE FUCKING PHONE!" "ASSHOLE!" I screamed at him, and stepped back out of harm's way. But he was soon gone. On his way to menace countless others. I can only hope he hit a fucking tree at some point. And also that he left no progeny.

Of course, that's all pointless now, isn't it? It's a well-trodden and deeply rutted path of behavior now. Driving while electronically distracted. In fact, there are all sorts of devices that allow us to electronically mediate our way through reality now. (I once saw a woman who, along with the Ipod earphones, was also wearing silly heads-up-display virtual sunglasses and was wearing a surgical mask to avoid, what? imaginary germs I guess, since the mask clearly would not stop viruses like swine flue). "Pretty much close to having all her holes plugged up soon", I commented to myself. And why not? Judging by her pissy demeanor, she no doubt needed 'em all well plugged up.

And now, we can avoid all of the distastefully laborious chores in our lives that make reality so wearily real, and fob those duties off onto other electronic devices. What with the merger of the PC and the cellphone, those little plastic cases with speakers and LCD windows in 'em are becoming practically indispensable.

GPS? SPS! (Social Positioning System) ala Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube, what have you.

I had a dream. In the not so distant future, very good looking people walk around carrying their brains in little plastic cases. 

These beautiful people all seem to be quite bright, and maybe just a little daft, as they spend a lot of time talking to themselves, and pointing at and manipulating things that are not there. And they all seem to possess somewhat smallish heads and jaws, at least to a beetle-browed, lantern-jawed, trog holdout like me, who can remember names and dates and do arithmetic in my head. But at least they still have opposable thumbs.

Ah, but snatch those little plastic cases away from them, and watch the air go out of their tires. Why, they do only incrementally better navigating through the world than chimpanzees.

This is not to say chimpanzees are dumb. They are not. But my evolutionary hypothesis is, in this case, "Use it or lose it".

I guess we shall see. Maybe HG Wells had it right about human evolution. Maybe in the future, there will be the toy makers and the toy users. The producers and the consumers. The Morlocks and the Eloi.

Anyone got a good recipe for Eloi?


  1. Ellen described "a very smart guy and has an interesting mind, a little edgy" but she forgot to say MEGA-freaking-hilarious! So what, if I've only read one post, this time I'll accept that first impressions are lasting. I'll let you know if I change my mind in the future, for I'll be back for sure.

    Gosh, a good recipe for the Eloi? I don't know, I think that if I lived in such world a miracle would happen and I would become a vegetarian. Miracle, because this girl really likes her meat.

    Thanks for the laugh. Read you soon!

  2. Hola John, {I'm not Spanish, I just pretend to be}

    Just popped over from Ellen's blog on the recommendation that you're awesome. That chica is always right. Scary how right she is. And now I see Magaly has dropped by and subscribed. You got the Trifecta of Followers right now; and although you will get many many more - remember your first three-way!

    This was a fantastic post by the way. I'm guilty of all the horrors and I even once was driving down the road with a brick and because I wasn't paying attention didn't cross the median before turning left. You know the rest... driving the wrong direction down a busy road! Had to yank the wheel and zoom into the median not to kill or be killed. But at least I learned the lesson. I do not drive and yak. If I must yak in the car, I pull over. You're right about our addiction to all the other electronics too. Our orifices are duly overplugged. I think I'll go for my walk today and leave my iPod behind. Thanks for the idea!

    Looking forward to getting better acquainted, John. And please stop by Casa Hice for a visit some time. I'll leave the light on for ya!


  3. Magaly, Alix, and, of course, Ellen. Thanks so much. I'll try not to disappoint, but I can't make any promises. I'm not trying to be intentionally funny, it's just the way I think.

    "Remember your first three-way"... not THAT'S funny!

  4. I'll make sure to tell The Boyfriend, he'd like to know that his dream has finally come true, although I'm not sure if it counts without him in it--oh well, physics, semantics... who needs them.

    I wanted to welcome you to the Eclectic Circle, you the the news member, and I feel you'll become one of my Wickedest Darlings ;)