Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Face To Face

Today I would like to take some time to mock the internet. Yes, that's me. I utilize the world wide web for information gathering, email, and blogging. I even made a friend online. Now I'm gonna sit here and diss part of my world. I see the irony and I know how easy it is to pick on technology. However, there are certain things for which the internet is a poor substute: i.e. friendship.

I have moved three times in the past 3 years. Albeit the third move was five miles away from the place I lived after the second move. It still requires new habits. For example, I don't get to go to the laundromat anymore with my overloaded bags of dirty clothes. I started chatting with one girl who worked there. I mean, we weren't friends or anything, but she was pleasant and interesting. I enjoyed getting to say a few words. I enjoyed going to get my coffee while she kept half an eye on my stuff. Now I do laundry at home alone. It's convenient. Plus my washer and dryer work much better than their coin-operated counterparts. Yet it feels like I am missing something. I am missing face to face contact. The grocery store is the same story. I decided to do my shopping at the store where I used to go. It's only five miles. Sometimes the managers will open up another check-out lane just for me. The guy at the meat counter always knows what I am going to get before I ask. No, I don't have deep conversations. Yes, I do get treated like some kind of VIP and I have an excuse for human contact.

I am not a total loser. Sorry to burst your bubble. I do make friends rather easily despite my shyness. I enjoy the company of almost everyone I meet. Even the people I dislike I can learn to accept. My nature is to find the good in people. People are interesting and unique. They are fun to watch and even more fun to interact with -- I sound like an a.i. or something . . .

The online community can be a lot of fun too. I get a kick out of reading humorous blogs. I read a lot of news and editorials. I like to read comment threads in people's blog posts and watch the back and forth. Still, something is missing. I find myself wondering, what do these people look like? What facial expression might this blog author have had when he or she wrote that post? Wouldn't it be more entertaining to have an entire conversation with somebody or several somebodies? I know there is a lot to the virtual world. Blogging alone can include video, audio or written word. Then there are webcams and those are very useful if a loved one is far away.

All these innovations still miss the face to face discussion. The enjoyment of being in the presence of a friend cannot exist in the virtual medium. Internet just can't take the place of real people and real places. Furthermore, I do better with my blogging when I am having real experiences and hanging with my real friends -- no offense to you computer people -- then when I am isolated and get most of my daily interactions reading stuff online. So, I guess this was my long-winded way of telling you all to quit reading my blather and go make a friend.


Arellanova said...

My mom knows everyone in the grocery store by name, and I call that awseome. This way, if there is an issue, she knows where she can go to get it resolved.

Some people make change look easy but I am convinced that change is rough on everyone. Even if it is a habit change, a confrontation that may change a relationship, or some other new way of walking the daily path.

Sometimes change makes us better. I am going to miss junkfood in the next few weeks.

tully said...

You're right, and this is part of why I shut down my blog. Philosophy requires face-to-face discussion. Any real discussion requires an almost diagnostic process to see what the other person is thinking.