It’s not really the Information Age; it’s the INSTANT Information Age. Technology is an automatic guest at any gathering, be it an intimate chat or a rowdy round table discussion. That guest cheats us of the chance to speculate or ponder with knowledge and experiences we pull out of the files in our gray matter. Instead, the guest, aka Siri or Google, pulls facts out of an invisible warehouse of files. End of wondering. How many thoughts slip away, perhaps never needing to surface again?
The spaces between the notes make the music, I have heard. Perhaps it is the spaces in conversation, when we scan our brains for stories, solutions and understanding, watching the faces and eyes of those with us, that create connections, deep connections that bind us beyond the meanings of the spoken words.
Access to the infinite storehouse of instant info has spoiled this boomer somewhat. Why isn’t everything instant?!
*I want my foot to hit the gas pedal as soon as the light turns green. Next time you are sitting in traffic notice how long cars are motionless after the light changes.
*The ten minutes it takes my eggs to boil seems like an hour sometimes.
*I want my fast-food in sixty seconds or less, forgetting that increases the likelihood of mistakes and cold meals.
*Instant replays during baseball games slow the game down sometimes!
*My toaster exasperates me. Why do I not have instant toast?
*The few extra seconds – never more than a minute – it takes the credit card machine to zap $$ from my bank account can infuriate some. After all, we are all in a hurry… for…??
*Texting allows us to get to the point in an instant. “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” (A nod to Dragnet) Does anyone talk on the phone anymore, just ’cause? Hearing loved ones voices is a special kind of high.
*Instant digital photos take us away from mailboxes and albums. Remember waiting to receive the pictures from a roll of film sent off? Special kind of excitement!
*Instant oatmeal, microwave popcorn and ready-to-eat meals shorten prep time with others in the kitchen and decrease family time, each in a hurry to go separate ways for this and that. Generations before us bonded around the table. There are no instant bonds. That seems an oxymoron.
In an instant a dear soul can leave us. Cherished bonds sharpen the shock of loss at first, but soothe a heart and mind with joyful memories, too. Another oxymoron, perhaps, but one we embrace.