Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How technology has hindered romance

   So I was without my phone today and it hit me all of a sudden in one gushy emotional moment--No snapchat, facebook, instagram, email, texting--it's abysmal moments like these that you began asking the deep soul searching questions that matter most "Do I even wanna live anymore?" "Is there a God?" We've all become so dependent on cell phones these days, you have to remind yourself, reality happens outside of what goes on in a little box.

   Tinder reports over 25 million matches a day. The numbers are mind boggling and enormous. The story is really about sex and hookups. In 1950 you'd have to hold a 2-part phone to your ear and ask the ladies dad permission to speak with her lovely daughter with sweat dripping down your forehead. These days we can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on an app. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now. When we choose, if we commit, we are still one eye wandering at the options. We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eyeing the mediocre buffet, because choice. Because choice. Our choices are killing us. We think choice means something. We think opportunity is good. We think the more chances we have, the better. But, it makes everything watered-down. Never mind actually feeling satisfied, we don’t even understand what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. We’re one foot out the door, because outside that door is more, more, more. We don’t see who’s right in front of our eyes asking to be loved, because no one is asking to be loved. We long for something that we still want to believe exists. Yet, we are looking for the next thrill, the next jolt of excitement, the next instant gratification.

    We soothe ourselves and distract ourselves and, if we can’t even face the demons inside our own brain, how can we be expected to stick something out, to love someone even when it’s not easy to love them? We bail. We leave. We see a limitless world in a way that no generation before us has seen. We can open up a new tab, look at pictures of Portugal, pull out a Visa, and book a plane ticket. We don’t do this, but we can. The point is that we know we can, even if we don’t have the resources to do so. There are always other tantalizing options. Open up Instagram and see the lives of others, the life we could have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with stimuli, input, input, input, and we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels a little hopeless. Because, we have no idea how to see our lives for what they are, instead of what they aren’t. 

    We are always on to the next. Searching for the elusive more. The next fix. Living our lives in 140 characters, 5 second snaps, frozen filtered images, zippy memes, four minute movies, attention here, attention there. More as an illusion. We worry about settling, all the while making ourselves suffer thinking that anything less than the shiny, happy filtered life we’ve been accustomed to is settling. What is settling? We don’t know, but we freaking don’t want it. If it’s not perfect, it’s settling. If it’s not glittery filtered love, settling. If it’s not Pinterest-worthy, settling.

"We realize that this ‘more we want’ is a lie."

We want phone calls. We want simplicity. We want a life that does not need the validation of likes, favorites, comments, upvotes. We may not know yet that we want this, but we do. We want connection, true connection. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people. We want to lay down our heads at the end of our lives and know we lived well, we lived life to its fullest. This is what we want even if we don’t know it yet.

    Romance, or as it is awkward to say nowdays, is old and foreign, it conjures up images of blouses, gentlemen in hats and awkward carriage rides.  It used to entail a lovesick boy pouring his heart out over a tear stained parchment , the quill in his hand shaking, rendering the ink slightly blotched  “I miss your tender embrace and melodious voice, darling you are all that is sweet and fair in the world when I think back to how we first met; holding you in my awkward arms, I still see you smiling blissfully back at me, whatever befalls me in this rugged mess, some call life, you will forever and always be the best thing that ever happened to me, we mesh like lavender and lace, you are the captain to my ship, the key to my heart. I miss you more than I could ever describe my lovely Susannah” -Her heart flutters as her eyes well up with unbridled joy, she stifles a sob, clasps her breasts and briskly fans her contorted face for no other reason than dramatic affect as tears begin to slowly roll off her rosy red cheeks his words had been like a hot iron searing some ulcer deep within her soul. The grip on the parchment becomes less clinched it drops to the floor and raw emotion takes over;  it flows in waves she staggers, clutching the porch pillar to stabilize and for emotional support.  Nowadays there is an occasional“sup babe” or a snapchat of dinner. 

    Now that we can text, skype or face time anyone in the world it allows for this narcissistic self-entitled feel. I mean I don't know, I'm not really good with technology. All this button and whatnot. I mean you can just imagine based on what's happened the last 15 years. Conversations won't happen 10 years from now. There aren't going to be people to talk to. its going to be like this (pushes buttons). 'Do you want to go out on a date with me?' 'I don't know, what do you look like?' 'Well I look kind of like this.' 'OK, what are your interests?' 'Well, what do you think my interests are? Looking into this thing and typing into this just like yours are.' 'Yeah, no kidding, that's what everybody's doing.' 'Well, where do you want to go?' 'Well, what  difference does it make? Because all we're going to be doing is looking into machines anyways.' Well, that's true and in the end it's going to be tough to perpetuate the species. There's no question about that. So we're all going to look in this box and eventually be extinct. That's how it ends."That's where the decline begins.

    Now I regress..If you once again could go back deep in time, before the baby boomers, the great depression, before people in Japan starting cutting off people's heads and you somehow ended up in the 21st century, you would think we'd all have lost our minds..And someone says "So what'd you see?" "There is an infestation of crazy! They're all using these weird solid rectangular objects, then staring and laughing into them, smiling then turning it around and even putting it up to their ear and talking to no one in the room! There must have been nuclear waste that seeped out of the substrate,  let's go back before the virus hit, and then *whoop* you're back plowing fields with horses and cutting wheat with a scythe with no desire to travel back to the future where all the crazy people live. People are becoming more self-entitled these days due to technology. Picture Lewis and Clarke  scaling the last peak of the rocky mountains in a blizzard and finally reaching the gorgeous scenery outlining the Columbia River Basin. They would've felt like they conquered the world or just won the Super Bowl,,This is it, months of arduous labor and rigid documentary, the nation will be amazed...Now days we can pass over the continental divide and lake Michigan in one snooze and then when arriving to our destination bitch about the layover in Denver..Oh you had to wait another 20 minutes? Did you participate in one of the amazing modern miracles of aviation and flight? Did you sit in a seat as you breached the cumulonimbus layer and flew like a bird through the air? We are living in an amazing age of discovery and technology let's all just stop and take a moment to appreciate it:)

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