Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Out of controll

My mind only produces commentaries in brief, tweet-length bursts. See scenario. Comment on scenario. Edit on comment to make it fit. And flick the two-cents of information into the wishing well of hopeful and righteous life analysts. Check back in five minutes for possible feedback. Check back in ten minutes for next subject. Check back in an hour because you've lost your way and forgotten what else it is you actually do in a day.

To my mother: to check your email, simply type "" into the URL bar above (wherein it says and hit enter on the keyboard. When the page loads, select "Email" or "Inbox" or whatever option presented that reminds you of an email account. It may ask you to sign in. If you need a reminder your email address is and your password is songbird — no capital letters or spaces.

My mother used to rant about how society was becoming so out of touch with itself because it spent long hours mindlessly staring into the space occupied by a television screen and clicking ever so purposelessly through a web browser — something my mother could not define, should you ask her — instead of reading books and playing hopskotch or learning to cross-country ski.

Now my mother is technologically crippled, a symptom of long snubbing her nose at a generational nuance she considered not worth her time. She needs help accessing her email account, the equivalent of walking to the refrigerator as far as technology's concerned, let alone actually utilizing the Internet for its more lucrative and fulfilling benefits, such as promoting a business, writing a blog post or tweeting about whatever it is you just saw on SportsCenter.

She is the overlooked sliver of pie in the graph that shows how computer-based our society is today. The kind that didn't move forward to that era of technology because they didn't want to, rather than because they couldn't afford it or didn't know about it. She could have been told by someone somewhere down the line that she was going to end up out of touch with the same society she claimed was getting out of touch with itself, but she wasn't. She was left behind to teach violin and play music on wooden instruments that require horse hair to make them sing. Her office didn't upgrade its computer network, get wireless Internet, require her to get a company app, or use Skype at a budget meeting. My mom doesn't know what the hell Skype is, but if you told her, I'm sure she'd be amazed.

The phrase "simpler times" is so sweet in its truth, so loyal to the notion that technology isn't making the world better, only easier. As long as your wired in, you're clear to float on in peace. But once your technology comes undone, you go ape. We keep pushing technology forward because we can, and because it's cool and useful. But at some point, maybe my mother is less handicapped than we are. My mother's computer will be out of commission for months at a time and it causes her little to no strain. If she wants a recipe for something, she doesn't go to Pinterest, she thumbs through a cookbook until she finds what she wants, perhaps discovering a couple other interesting recipes in the process.

The notion that we can't live without technology is pathetic in how close it is to being accurate. If I got stuck on a deserted island, I know I would really miss Twitter (This is serious! If I don't get found soon, my phone is going to die! #NoOutlets @barackobama). We're reaching an age where we're becoming engrossed, drenched to the bone, undryably soaked in technology. Television is becoming outdated. What in the hell does that say? The mere fact that I'm saying this at age 19, not age 45, convinces me that technology is moving rapidly, and that I will soon be behind the times, whether it be now or when I'm 35 or 60 or 90 or 130, because lord knows we're all going to start living that long.

Meanwhile, as the world begins to quiver under the sheer weight of all the people it now holds (7 billion? That's a billion more than when I was growing up!), we continue to pretend there's room for everyone, jobs for everyone, happiness for everyone. If you can't have real happiness, well you can still have an iPhone. We create social media networks to try and lessen the amount of people in our universes, to try and recreate our own personal society filled with people we like, are interested in, and care about, and no one else. We try and add something that hasn't already been thought of or added, we try and make music like we've never heard, and then we wonder why that band is playing such weird shit. There's too many people to do anything anymore.

We have to realize that this system isn't sustainable. The foreseeable future grows shorter and shorter every year. If the world ends in 2012 with a bang or a series of natural disasters, we'll have the solace of knowing that it didn't come to us pruning the race ourselves. I'm not saying we need to do something about it, because who cares what I think? I'm a hair follicle on the testicles of a jester compared to someone who makes a difference, who just might be nobody anymore in an age where being the President merely makes you famous and blameable.

I woke up Sunday with a rash that I got from God-knows-where doing God-knows-what, and all my friends don't seem to like it very much when I show it to them. There won't be any pictures of it on Facebook or Instagram, though it's an accurate depiction of what my life's been for the past four days. I got disgusted looks when I mentioned it on the radio, because people don't want to hear about it. But I've been thinking about rashes a lot lately, specifically the one I have that has been begging me to itch it the entire time I've been writing this post, and I think they're a fair reminder that some things take time, no matter how fast your wireless loads, and that anything other than having a disgusting, itchy rash all over your torso is grounds for a good day.

The balance in the world has shifted, and it's now whatever you want it to be. Hell, they make different versions of the news to cater to different people anymore and interpret the Bible to mean whatever necessary to back their beliefs. They write books where the main character is dead or alive based on the reader's preference, and life's cruel subtleties — rashes and the like — are locked in a box and shoved in the corner with dirty clothes thrown over them to hide their presence. As the world becomes a niche-based society, people stop mattering.

I've been in my apartment all day doing next to nothing. This slothlike behavior has affected no one. I am experiencing what it's like to be utterly inconsequential. I've often said I would prefer to have lived in a previous era. This rapid crescendo of technology overpowers the buzz a single bee such as myself produces. I just float around, not able to hear myself think because darn it all there's no room for isolation in the modern world, searching for a flower to pollinate. But there's so much more to it than that when you're a real socially functional person, isn't there? I envy them. The bees seem just as happy as I do. Simpler times, I suppose.

--Eliot Sill


  1. Just left an island where I didn't even carry my phone on me. It only served as a camera or a clock. I don't like pictures and the only time that mattered was day or night. It was kind of a nice change. We should go. You could use a decent unplugging.

  2. "I'm a hair follicle on the testicles of a jester compared to someone who makes a difference"

    That's incredible. Great overall.