Back in the good old days ( were there EVER good old days? ) I took lessons in the new fad... rollerblading. Roller derby was still a possibility for me if the acting thing didn't stay fresh as well as my generation wanting to get in with the new technology, Computers, snow boarding, the internet (who remembers the thrill of getting your first AOL screen name that no one else thought of) and rollerblading. I was in Idaho, surrounded by beauty and buff and was at a group class at a public park. Nappy, I don't know his real name was a white, thiryish jock with a great big challenging personality and an even bigger smile, gathered the newannabee roller bladers and taught us the basics. His first commandment was " If you LOOK down, you will GO down."
The idea was that you needed to keep your eyes looking ahead, arms out in front and that looking down was a certain ignominious cascade to the pavement and sure embarrassment.
I've noticed that now that we are in the bad new days, political conundrums, international embarrassment and an obscene addiction to celebrities and their human frailty, I've noticed that we ALL look down, all the time. It started with computers. Who hasn't stood watching an airline reservationists (a very tough job) while they tapped into their unseen by you screen with that permanent slight grimace of "Boy are you F%$#&d." It followed with our little digital cameras. As soon as the image was on a display screen we had to look. It is followed by the ubiquitous PDA/Blackberry/Textometers that have a gravitational pull of a neodymium magnet. In the car, on a plane, in the market, coffee shop, school pick up lines, treadmill... we have stopped looking up. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the plethora of video games, RPG computer games and everyone's home DVD library and giant screens. Even the stalkarrazi only look up and scream your name until they have you in their device. Then they stop screaming, and freeze and stare down at their captured bit of your soul. Teenagers seem now to only text and in the NY Times this morning I noticed an article about the great divide between parents and teens as they seem to even text another person in the same room, car rather than talking directly to them. They say it is for privacy. Isn't that why God invented whispering?
I am fed UP. I now seem to stop talking as soon as someone's eyes are yanked away by the PULL and wait till I get them back on my eyes.. It is annoying I know but please, enough is enough.
Nappy was right. We are going down as fast as the job market. What is next? Those horrible prophecies of little pod people making all babies in test tubes OR can we realize the problem (see Global Warming ) and start to TALK about it EYE to EYE and use our wonderful minds to create space for communication, humans communicating with humans.
I am here, eyes at the ready. Are you?