i hate ipods, vol ii

So last week, for what it probably the first time, I kind of got mean. Well, maybe not mean, I suppose. More like I just say as many sweet, inspirational things as I usually try to. When you open up to page 5 or 6, I want you to feel like every week there’s a guy there who is going to help you see things a little more brightly, a little more healthy, and maybe you become a little better as a result.

Last week, however, sparked something in me that I want to talk about for one more week, and then I’ll probably get back to more appealing topics, like finishing what I was going to talk about regarding grad schools.

We live in one of the most connected societies ever. If I had to get a hold of you for whatever reason, I have all sorts of options: I could write you here in the Knight, I could Facebook you, I could blog you, I could text you, I could email you, I could even send you a letter (but who does that any more).

Ironically, none of these require any sort of physical contact, which then makes me think that while we’re the most connected societies ever, we’re also one of the least connected. Which then makes me think about the iPod problem.

When I see more ears plugged with iPod than not, I can’t help but feel we’re destroying the last real places where we can contact each other: when we’re literally face to face. Again, this is not to say that I don’t love what any MP3 player can offer its owner. In an ironic twist of fate, I thought I had lost my iPod coming home from Philadelphia, but it turned out that it was just in my luggage. But still, I was a little sad. After all, I spent almost $200 on that device, and I have a hard time running without it.

It’s just at times I wonder if the one thing we want is the one thing we run away from. When I talk to my residents, my friends, and some of you folks out there, I sense the one thing you’re looking for is someone to listen to you. A friend. Someone to play racquetball with on Sunday afternoons, and maybe grab a beer and talk about life with. If I had a dollar for each person who has confided in my they’d like to get married sooner rather than later in order to share special moments and intimacy with I could retire now. That’s not even a joke.

People want to feel valued. Special. Last I knew, however, that meant actually talking to people. Not Facebooking them. Not blogging with them. It means face-to-face conversation beyond last weekend’s party.

These people are walking past you every day. Real connections are slipping by our hands because we’d rather draw into ourselves, disappearing from the world, when deep down, if we were honest, we rather talk to someone about how our day is going.

So I’ll make you all a deal. Next Tuesday, December 11th, I’ll be sitting in Waldron at noon. Talk to me. I will ask you how your day is. I will find out something I don’t know about you. And I’ll connect with you. After all, I asked you to connect with someone instead of your iPod this Christmas. I’m making it easy on you.


One Comment

  1. You know what would be great? If I could find out where Waldron is and show up there next Tuesday. Of course, having committments and a job three hundred miles away kinda prevents such randomness. However, it would make me smile. Woe, needing to have a job to feed myself and pay the bills. Woe, for having bills, indeed! Someday, these shackles will be broken!

    When will you be in town for Christmas?

    PS> I submit that blogging with people is as good a replacement for conversation as any, when considering distance and schedules. I haven’t seen some of the people on my friends list at LJ in over two years, yet I still feel as if I know what is going on in their lives as much as some people I work with.

    That being said, I agree with you that many people ultimately just want to have a connection with others. However, for whatever reason (fear? Distrust? being too busy?), people close themselves off. I find it interesting to be in a train car, filled with 80 people, all of which have some things in common (for a start, that they are human and alive, with all that both of those conditions implies), and hear silence. There are times while riding the metro when I wonder what would happen if I just turned to the stranger next to me and asked how it was going. I believe it would be an automatic reaction of the talk-ee to withdraw and question the talker’s sanity, motives, character, and what not. Of course, perhaps that is me projecting my own immediate reaction onto others, but I do not believe I am that far off of the general reaction. So, ultimately, the question would be why that is the case.

    Anyway. Hope to see you sometime in the next month.


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