July 12, 2016

trail notes, mmxvi-vii-xii

At our local park this evening Pan and I noticed that everyone had their faces glued to their phones. All of them, every single one - we counted eight on the sidewalk in front of us. Most of them were standing transfixed, but one lady was shambling blindly through the grass after her outstretched arm and screen. Pokeycrap, I assume, but still quite a "welcome to the future" moment.

My first impulse was to pull out my own phone (which was, after all, in my pocket recording our walk) and take a picture, but I stopped and scolded myself severely. (I think my exact thought was, "These are not the droids you're looking for.")

I blame Walt Disney for sugar-coating everything; we need to read more of the old stories with the dark edges to our children. We've forgotten that magic always, always exacts a price. Little boxes on wheels that can zip you directly to wherever you want to go, in total comfort, in any weather? No problem, but they'll take 50,000 lives a year, turn the world ugly and eventually ruin the planet. A tiny device you can use to talk to anyone in the world, anytime, or to discover any known fact, instantly? Here you go, but you'll never have another secret that's all your own, nor ever again smell a flower or hear the trees murmur. A small object you can hold in your hand and point at a living creature and cause them to fall down dead? Well, OK, but that one will cost you your soul, brother.

Think I'm gonna start leaving the phone and camera at home and get me a tin-foil umbrella-slash-cane-slash-walking stick.


  1. Did you see the movie "Her" with Joaquin Phoenix--where he fell "in love" with the voice/person on his phone? There are scenes with multiple people, all looking at their cell phones. Fiction becomes reality.

    1. I don't go see movies unless they're animated.