Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Caught in the NET

Caught in the NET

It’s not just the social media, it’s the whole electronic hook-up. When is enough, enough? Online I pay my bills, write in my journal, and keep in touch with people I know and people that I used to know. I compose, create, design, draw, fix photos, put them in a scrapbook, read about everything, ( even my scriptures), find recipes, sell things, find the business, do the work, bill the client, all attached to a keyboard. The only things that I don’t do that are at least a step away from an electronic interface are exercise, gardening, grocery-shopping, personal hygiene, eating and sleeping. But I’m sure in some futuristic time, even that can be done on a computer. Aquariums and fires in fireplaces have been available electronically for a long time, and you can grow virtual gardens complete with little plants that will die if you don’t give them enough attention.
I don’t watch TV, or hardly at all, and rarely go to the movies. My entertainment consists of reading and writing to and about other people. I watch their videos, connecting in a personal, and transparent way that allows me to get to know them in what is at first somewhat superficial, but in a lightening speed fashion, never before possible. My keyboard or something like it, has almost literally become an extension of myself.
But is this really good? What would happen if everything suddenly melted down, like some old wind-up record player that has suddenly run out of power? The whole thing is a little terrifying because it has become such a huge part of my life. Would I remember how to do anything? Could I actually write with pen and paper again? It seems that the thoughts come so much easier through my fingers. It’s almost has if they each have their own tiny brains. I thought I would always enjoy curling up with a good book, but I can read so much faster online and my neck doesn’t get a crick in it.
Then social media comes along, and tying me once again to the umbilical cord of my computer. It is almost like a little placenta, feeding me constantly with knowledge, information, and now social connections. I want to know who is following me and whom I can follow. My husband is not a very verbose person, but there are actually people out there who care if my amaryllis actually blooms or if the snowfall is particularly beautiful, or whether the movie I just went to see was good or bad.
It is winter and that is part of the problem. Like butterflies, I want to cocoon. I bundle up and hunker down in my nice warm house, and I am happy to stay home, away from the cold and snow outside. But the snow can really be so lovely sometimes. What I need to remember is that life does exist beyond the computer screen. I can actually reach out and touch a human person.
Come spring, like the butterfly, I will emerge from my cocoon, spread my wings and fly. Nothing really, is more heady than the rich, warm smell of newly turned soil, ready for seed. Not even my little green Facebook garden, no matter how many plants my friends send me.

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