The Struggle is Real, Said the Modern Old Fashioned Lady

Well, big surprise here, I bailed on Twitter again. Then I changed my mind. Then I bailed again.

There was this alleged news story about a California congress woman’s messy divorce that I’d likely have never seen had it not shown up in my Twitter feed. To me, it was kind of a seedy story, and that’s one thing, but the way that people were about it was like watching starving dogs rip apart fresh meat thrown to the pack. No thanks. I realized, there will always be another story like that on social media as long as there is social media. Social media is the ultimate party line, everyone on the phone at once. That got me to thinking about all the other alleged news stories that I’d probably never know much of anything about were it not for social media. I don’t know how I feel about that or what I think about it. I know that doesn’t mean we should all make like the Ostrich and hide our eyes away from the action. (Ostriches are checking and turning their eggs when they poke their heads below ground, I think.) But, it means that I have, really, long ago, arrived at the conclusion that I think the vast majority of what social media is used for, ends up being unhealthy for society in general, and for individuals as well.

Twenty-five years ago, if a high-speed car chase on the highway occurred in, say…Arkansas, no one outside of Arkansas would have ever heard about it unless the chase crossed state lines, or there was some extenuating circumstance involved, or it was really an extremely slow news day literally everywhere else. And, I think that is as it should be, for the most part. Now, news can travel around the world in seconds, and it dissipates just as quickly as there is always going to be something else happening somewhere else, especially where there is 24/7 access to “the world.” It breeds armchair quarterbacks. The truth is, I don’t know that human beings are equipped to juggle that much information, that much stimulus. I often think of it, the internet, social media, as the modern Tower of Babel. Between all the “news” stories that I have no interest in, the ads for things I’m not going to buy, and people just either being completely phony or acting like imbeciles, I found myself asking myself again, “What am I doing on here?”

I want social media to be something it hasn’t been for a very long time. It’s time to let that go. Really. In this, we see that I struggle with things sometimes, often giving them more chances than they’ve earned or deserve. It’s because I’m really a hopeful person. I still think that sites focussed on an activity, Goodreads for books, or Instagram is about photos, and so on, still have positive merits and can be fun. (I’ve ultimately resolved to keep my twitter account for the time being but to try again to use it exceedingly sparingly.)

This awful cold is now stretching into a ninth day. I am at the point of being irritated by being sick. I have things to do. I’ve been coughing so much that it isn’t like I’m getting any rest anyway, though I do think it’s turning into a pretty good ab workout. But, I know, I know, in a day or so, this cold is just going to be finally, magically gone, having run its course, and I’ll feel like a functional human again. This is what I get for having said I wanted to shuffle around in my pajamas and slippers.

Otherwise, things are pretty good. I’ve re-corrected three manuscripts at this point, using Grammarly. This has slowed down work on “Magdalene Aubergine,” but that’s okay, all things in their own time.

I miss the old world, to some degree, when I let myself think about it, if I let myself think about it. I miss the world when the home answering machine had just become a relatively common thing in modern countries. I’ve started to wonder when our society peaked, was it in the late 1980s? Was it somewhere in the 1990s? Was it at the Turn of the Century? But what that means is that my subconscious got hold of the idea that we have peaked as a society, here in the west. And what does that mean? I was in a store the other day looking for a rug for my kitchen because I decided I didn’t want to just order one. I thought, “No, I’ll go into a store and shop, the old fashioned way.” And the atmosphere in the store was strange. I tried to figure out what it was, and it was that no one seemed to want to be there. Everyone who was shopping was acting like they were on a supply run through zombie territory. The store was kind of a mess, under staffed, over-worked employees. I never used to order anything, but lately, it’s been difficult to find specific items in stores anymore. They’ll sell you the new appliance, but six months later, good luck finding a store that still carries whatever kind of filter you need for it as technology has moved on by then. But, somehow the increased accesibility to any item you could ever think of, even if you’re only window shopping, has made some things seem less special. We look at “pictures” of everything now instead of looking at the item in a store, or looking for a treasure in a store. Somehow Pinterest doesn’t have quite the same feel as looking through a gigantic Christmas catalog from Spiegel or Sears or Montgomery Ward’s, at my grandmother’s house. Even thrift shopping is sometimes a luckless adventure now as I so often run into those who are scouring the stores to resale items online and the bones are often picked pretty clean. As I shopped for a rug, I began to notice the various modes of dress of all around me in the store, shoppers, employees, I thought, perhaps I am getting old, because there’s just so much going on out there in the world that I don’t “get,” these days, that I’m not hip to. I’m certainly getting set in my ways. I remember the olden days. They said, or were saying, or they say, that fifty is the new thirty, but I don’t think that it is. I wouldn’t want it to be. Does that mean I’m old fashioned or out of date or out of touch, if I think, in a lot of ways, perhaps society was better off before the mobile phone, before social media? Is all this progress really progress? Technology has taken incredible leaps forward, someday perhaps we’ll catch up with it.

I’m fine with being somewhat old school about some things.

TS