Neo-Luddite Tendencies

In the near future, there may be meetings for those of us not willing to embrace all of the new in our lives.  Hell, I’m not even fully embracing 1993.  My name is Suzanne, and I am a Luddite.

Admittedly, this is a blog, so not a full-blown attack on your manufacturing plant (’cause I’d have to travel to China to do it) Luddite, but a bit of one nonetheless.  You see, there are aspects of modern life and technology that I find truly disgusting, distasteful, and downright annoying.

Yes, I’m talking to you Mr. Caller ID.  We don’t have one on our house phone (yet another indicator of our unwillingness to go forward into the 21st century).  When people call, I have no idea to whom I will be speaking.  It’s fine.  Really.  I’ve never once been trauamtized by talking to the WRONG person.  After all, if I want to not talk to anyone because I’m hanging with my boys, you know what I do?  I DON’T answer the telephone.  The answer phone will get it.

Now my cell phone DOES have it, but I have to look at the screen to know who it is.  By that time, I’m answering the phone.  I don’t download different ring tones for different people (save for that one time seven years ago when I used “Flight of the Bumblebee” for one particular friend.  It was a self-preservation thing.  I was saving herself from me.).  I have neither the time, nor the inclination to go through all that.  To be honest, I had to finally find a ring tone that sounds like a phone because I missed so many calls.  They were just the random callings of whippoorwills for all I cared.

Now please sit down for the next one, I’d hate for you to recoil in horror and hurt yourself.  We still own the same television we bought in the late 1990s.  It’s not HD nor is it the size of Picasso’s Guernica nor is it flat screen.  It’s an average color TV set.  It lacks surround sound and a mate.  You see, it’s a spinster (or would that be bachelor) TV.  We only have one in the house.  Mind you, we have an iPad, a school-issued lap-top that I consider “my precious”, as well as the heavily modified, customized, and doctored PC we have upstairs.  With all that, you don’t need a second TV.

I refuse to have a television in my bedroom.  As a rule, no screens are allowed at bedtime; although that will change since Shonen Jump will only be putting out electronic copies in the future, making the need for a screen inevitable.  Actually, we still have (gasp) CDs.  We even play them on a boom-box.  In fact, I miss those.  I miss mixed tapes.  I miss making mixed tapes.  A mixed CD just doesn’t have the same beauty of weird poppings, overrun music, wrong stops and starts, and the wrong songs placed side by side that will stay there forever because, fuck-it!, it’s already on there.

I’m Luddite enough to be appalled at school when I see the parents give their little kids the phone to play with.  Toddlers know more about their parents’ phones than they should, and they consider them THEIR toys.  I already feel sorry for the poor kindergarten teacher.  Damn.  Two issues at play here: first, you gotta compete with a phone and someone who has made it solely their purpose to make sure you NEVER bother them, and second, you’re dealing with a kid who must be pretty freaking unpleasant when he or she doesn’t get his or her own way — the phone.  Shit.  That stuff just makes me shudder. Worse, if the kids aren’t playing with the phone, the parents are.  I don’t even know that I term that benign neglect.  I call that raising “semi-civilized bastards.” Hey, at least we know it’s the school’s fault.

While I’m not a total Luddite, I do see the ripples in daily life where our ability to deal with each other is diminished, our egotism is increased exponentially, and our reliance on a communications device for everything but communication is divisive.  For that, I should destroy some manufacturing plants in China.  However, I know that I would merely enrage the slaves.  I suspect they have Stockholm Syndrome.


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