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Lisa K. Friedman Headshot

Google Glass: Now You See Me...

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I'm a little worried about the new high-tech fad in eyewear called Google Glass. Through a tiny live action video camera affixed to the frames of eyeglasses, Google Glass allows you to record and upload everything you see with the help of a voice command sound system that permeates bone. It sounds like a nifty little tool, no? Just think of the possibilities!

I'll admit, I'm a little slow on the uptake when it comes to new technology. I still use my smartphone as a phone. How archaic is that? I'm having a hard time imagining how this new technology benefits ordinary people like me. Do I want to upload a video of my neighbor's kid shooting BB's at the deer behind our houses? Conversely, do I want the neighbor's kid to take a picture of me when I'm sunbathing outside my back door? No, I do not.

As a writer, I spend most of every day alone at my desk. No one sees me. I wear my lucky writing pajamas with a twist-tie or shoelace, whatever is handy, gripping my hair at the top like a little fountain. It's not an attractive costume... it's functional. I am careful not to leave the house without changing into real clothes though I will admit to dashing out of the house on occasion to rescue a kid from the nurse's office or to drop off someone's forgotten homework. You invariably run into someone you know when you're out in a public place in your pajamas. I'm just lucky my children reached adulthood before technology jumped from Mission Impossible gear to mainstream fashion accessories.

The first time I used Skype was for a writing assignment. Before the scheduled video-chat, I practiced using the program with my son. I wanted to present myself as fluent in the modern forms of Internet technology. My son patiently coached me through the process. With the phone wedged between shoulder and ear, I followed his instructions. I'm not bragging when I disclose that I successfully hit the answer button on the first try. When his face filled my screen I shrieked. "Eureka!" He looked somewhat surprised. His first words were hardly the stuff of history: "What happened to your face?"

My face wakes up a full two hours after the rest of me. Being seen in the mornings when I'm at my desk required some advanced prep work. Before the interview, I put on a collared shirt, rubbed my face awake and fixed my hair. The discussion went well. I got the job along with a suggestion that I close the bathroom door situated behind me. "This is the first time we've interviewed anyone while looking at a toilet," my new boss said.

I don't like the idea of being filmed surreptitiously. I'm grateful to know that my less glamorous moments, like when I backed up my new minivan into a fire hydrant outside the elementary school on early dismissal day, exist only in fading memories. Some things are better left unrecorded. I have to wonder if the risk of being seen will change anything. Will we refrain from excavating our nostrils while driving in the car? Will we tug at our underwear while walking or floss seeds from our teeth in the diner restroom if we know we might appear on Facebook with our fingers stuck in our orifices?

As an observer of human nature, I made a few notes of things I saw in one ordinary morning, things that could easily create a viral wave given the proper taglines:

In Costco I watched a large woman in a velour sweat suit attempt to wedge herself into a pair of too-small jeans.

On the beach, a man waited beside a defecating dog, bag in hand and then he pretended to pick up the waste left on the sand.

A lady in a restaurant applied a thick layer of lipstick using her knife as a mirror.

Imagine these images online with accompanying sound tracks! I can almost hear Barry White's encouraging moans as the woman outlines her lips. Not good!

You can't stop progress. I know that. But in these murky moments when it is entirely impossible to anticipate potentially nefarious antics vs innocent high jinx, what are we to do?

I recommend a high-collared trench coat and false moustache. As far as I can tell, these still work.

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