When I’m not sure exactly where I want to go, I just Map Quest or Google Earth the location and I’m given step-by-step directions how to get there – go 0.3 mi and turn left on Happiness Street; at the next stoplight bear right as the road forks at Memory Lane; your destination is on the left. Pretty nifty, even if the directions aren’t always the most direct route.
When I run out of resources in my wallet I just log on to my bank’s website and move some money around so I can survive until payday. When I don’t know how to spell a word or when I need to find out where I can buy little umbrellas for drinks at my next patio party, I ask my loyal computer for a clue.
When I have a medical question or need to find out how physically healthy I am I send a quick e-mail to my doctor and she gets back to me within a couple of hours, even if it’s 10 p.m. at night. When I crave a hit of spirituality I can receive an online injection by watching my minister speak a thousand of his weekly inspirational and spot on messages or by reading his informative and touching blog posts.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ve heard me say most of the above before.
The New Stuff
So, why is it I can’t do the same with the emotional side of my life? Real life and the work involved in it requires real participation, real touching, face-to-face interaction and solving problems in the presence of others. Isn’t there an app for that? It can be pretty difficult to celebrate all that life has to offer with a computer, even one with a talented program that simulates real life events.
On the other hand, when I can’t be there to see my girlfriend’s new baby or when my great nephew sprints ahead of the pack at his track meet, the computer and its attached pictures and social applications do indeed stand in. But I have still missed out on a part of the experience, a rather large part, in fact. I didn’t see the sweat of all his labor as he crossed the finish line, and I didn’t smell the red dirt track that was trampled by lots of other competing teenager feet. And he also doesn’t get to see me smiling and thumbing up his great work. The limitations are obvious.
But, when I’m frustrated and need some insight into how I might improve the well being of a couple of my relationships or certain things that have happened in those relationships, I look for a quick reference for an answer. I have to admit I’ve Googled “How to be a better friend” and “How to express disappointment without getting angry.” I also like to look up what my role models, such as Ernest Holmes or Emma Curtis Hopkins, might have to say about the spiritual side of my query. I’ve come to rely on my computer for so many things but solving real people problems/issues/questions can’t be accomplished entirely with a connection to the internet.
I can’t applaud my relationship with my computer enough when it comes to quickly learning what to do when my generous neighbor delivers a freshly caught and very much still alive and kicking Dungeness crab to my door (I put it in the freezer to put it to sleep but then needed to check online again to learn how to clean it after I cooked it.).
Access to almost all the information you’d ever need in a flash is nice, but it’s not the complete solution to what ails us/me. I wonder sometimes if I’m getting out of practice with real people-to-people interactions because of my over use of computerized devices such as iPads, tablets, smart phones, etc. Admittedly, I’ve sometimes chosen those forms of communication over the face-to-face kind because I could edit what I say several times before spewing forth.
If I didn’t have my connection to all the information on the internet, what would I do? I wouldn’t give up trying to improve my interpersonal relationships; I might flounder a bit more and make bigger mistakes. Hey, I make pretty big ones already! I might have to call someone who could advise me about how to handle a live crab. I would have to wait and call my doctor’s office to get medical information, and I’d have to put on my pantyhose (just a saying, people) and actually go to The Center for Spiritual Living in person, which wouldn’t be so bad.
There are those of my friends who, after having read this, will scoff, “See, I told you I could live my life just fine without learning how to work one of them there computer thingies.” Okay, they don’t really talk like that! But I have mixed feelings. While their lives are lived in the purest connection of people reaching out and connecting with other people, isn’t it limited extensively by time, energy, money and availability?
Why Talk About This at All?
What has prompted this banal conversation in the first place you may wonder? Recently my computer experienced some significant problems. It had to do with the mouse and cursor having wildly divergent ideas about where to go on the screen, neither of which was governed by my participation. It was costly and inconvenient. I became very involved in the life of my Dell tech from the Philippines, Raymund. During this period of downtime I was able to reflect about the difference between mechanical problems versus ‘people’ difficulties. Both have their good and bad points.
One of the best things to occur as a result of this computer problem was a dear friend recommending I read Patience, The Art of Peaceful Living by Allan Lokos. I highly recommend it. Hop on over to the movie and book review section of this blog for a more in depth review. After having read it, I’m sure what I learned will help me with both computer problems and the foibles of living with and loving real live humans.
I’m no where near setting aside my computer and all that it does for me, but I feel a stronger sense of being able to handle things without the aide of anything electronic.
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