Thursday, June 23, 2005

How Darkness Brightened My Day

So there I was in the store the other day when I got the unique (oh wait it's not so unique, IT HAPPENS ALL THE DAMN TIME) opportunity to listen to an argument on a cell phone. Now this wasn't a cell phone pressed against my ear. This was overheard as a "lady" shouted her fool head off at someone on the other end of the call in the middle of the shop.

This got me to thinking about the slow and steady erosion of decency in this crazy spinning dirt ball we live on. As people get cell phones and email devices like the blackberry the world is becoming more disconnected. Sure we can all text or call anyone in a heartbeat, but the funny part is that as we seem to becoming more connected, we seem to be losing touch with each other.

We scurry around connected to our own little pocket of reality with no real concept of the bigger world around us. People cut each other off in traffic because if they lose 2 seconds letting them in, their entire day will disintegrate. People don't seem to hold doors for each other anymore. No consideration is given to others as cellphones rings in restaurants, meetings and movie theaters. What solution have people come up with to this chaotic mess? Let's all just plug in to our iPods and MP3 players and ignore the mess. Maybe it will fix itself.

Two years back we experienced a summer power outage due to a serious glitch in the electric grid, unplugging people for as many as almost 3 days. With all of our mighty technology crippled the world should have disintegrated right? Wrong. The end result was that everyone in our immediate area suddenly cared about each other. Neighbors were neighbors again. We went for walks and sat in our front yards and shared drinks and laughed and wondered when the power came back on. People drove around, bringing water to thirsty police officers. We looked at the stars that we could see, now that the smog wasn't illuminated by the buckets of light we pour into the night, with wonder. Such beauty that we never saw in the wake of our "modern" world was now apparent to us. The same was true of the people. We never noticed the beauty and friendliness of those around us until all of our technological distractions collapsed and forced us to look at each other and rely on each other.

I say we pull the plug for at least one day a year and throw the world back into the "darkness" that lit up our world for one brief shining moment. A time when we all got to be people again. Until the rest of the world catches on and helps us pull it though, let's start our own quiet revolution. Hold a door for someone at least once each day. Let the car beside you into your lane and appreciate the smile and look of surprise on their face. Say hello to everyone you see and surprise them too. Let's all try to make this noisy, digitally polluted world a little nicer.

It's amazing what you can see with the lights off.


Blogger Fizzy said...

Morning - I get to be first :) -.
This is such a good post RP. It would be good. to do that. to get to know people personally and talk to someone face to face and not AT someon down the phone. I am sick of sitting on buses and having people shout over the noisethat they are on the bus ... put the tea on. what is all that about?
A lot of people say that it would be good to go back to the old style traditional Sunday... no shops, nothing open just family and friends.... I am rambling but this has struck a chord... have a good day

8:24:00 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Cell phones in movie theaters DRIVE ME NUTS. Then they want to sit there and TALK during the movie.

Well, I know what you mean about it bringing people together (being without power)....during the hurricanes, we went without for about a week. We got to know several of our neighbors better by them helping us out and us helping them out.

Sometimes the whole world just needs to slow down for a bit, just like you said.

10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Hick said...

Here in the country we lose power several times per year...sometimes for several days. That's when the family gets out their headlamps flashlights and cards and candles and laughs together. It's fun for a few hours...

10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

This is the kind of post that needs to be turned into an article and hit the front page of every newspaper across North America.

We were hit by the same power outage and it through me so far off base, it finally made me realize that I depend TOO much on modern technology.


10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

The big blackout (two years ago) was sorta fun for me because I got power back within a couple of hours and ended up getting a week off work! Also, I got to hear people huff and puff their way up the stairs (at the time I lived on the 3rd floor of a 31 floor building. :)

Alas, people make the choices they want to make and must live with the consequences. There's nothing stopping anyone from turning off their cell or putting the Blackberry down for a few hours. They have the choice, even if it's perhaps not the best thing for them.

If there's ever another big blackout I hope it's during the fall or spring when it's not too hot (without benefit of A/C) to copulate... We need some blackout babies! :)

10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

i agree, pete- an d i think this should be sent into a paper/readers digest/etc for publishing.....

10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That's a great post. We can get disconnected in our cocoons of cyber connectivity.

11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Sask 1 said...

Yes thats an awesome post as usual Rainy pete.

11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

I totally agree. Great post!

2:11:00 PM  
Blogger Martini Love said...

I used to love when the power went out but I live in AZ now and in the summer if the power went out I swear they would call in goverment assistance because people would freak out so bad from no A/C

2:16:00 PM  
Blogger Marel Lecone said...

The BEST post that I have read in some days. Thanks so much. I hold the doors and do the smiles. I am not so good on the roads. I will work on it. I am always shocked at the inconsideration of people day to day that we walk together with in the world. Thanks for wording it perfectly.

Were you referring to the blackout 2003 when it affected alot of the eastern seaboard? I only remember it well because I was pregnant. Nine months pregnant. And, it was August.

I will check back with you another time. Take care.

3:52:00 PM  
Blogger Rurality said...

If there is a slow and steady erosion of decency in Canada (of all places), I fear we are in big big trouble...

4:24:00 PM  
Blogger ramblin' girl said...

brilliantly written!

reminds me of the blizzard we had a few years ago. neighbors were all out walking (and skiing) down the middle of the street. helping each other shovel out and build snowmen and igloos. we still had power, but no one could get anywhere, and it was so great to wander around and chat with people I never knew lived in my neighborhood, and sadly haven't seen since.

I still walk and run in my neighborhood all the time, but many people look at me oddly when I smile and say hello. but that won't keep me from continuing.

5:30:00 PM  
Blogger jon said...

I've often considered becoming Amish. Seems like such a simple life, a quality life. 'Cept I'd have to keep my playstation, but other than that, just a simple existance. 'Course I'd have to keep the TV to play the playstation on, so I might as well go ahead and keep the DVD too. I guess I couldn't blog if I didn't have the computer. But those would be my only guilty pleasures .......Oh, the microwave too.

9:02:00 PM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

very good post. i really enjoyed it and i have to agree with all you said. when you do some thing nice for some one now it really surprises them and they do not know what to do. thanks for dropping by my blog at ramblin on and wishing me well on my trip. my wife and i had a good time. there were some bad moments but we got through them o.k. talk to you soon .

9:21:00 PM  
Blogger glomgold said...

I actually think this is a very intriguing idea, cutting off power for a day (maybe not for emergency teams). I'd like to see if it helps at all. I cannot believe the hubbub people in NYC were making about that power outtage! The newspeople and other idiots were acting like a 10 mile asteroid just struck.

8:07:00 PM  

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