Recollection

Two years ago, my new-to-me vehicle (her name is Milan) decided to get sick on me for the first time. Such is to be expected from a machine new or used, so I wasn’t necessarily trippin’. In fact, the amazing part was that she was able to tell me exactly what was wrong, beyond the ambiguous “check engine” indicator. Because, lo and behold, waiting for me soon as I got home was an emailed link to the vehicle health report she apparently sent through my phone. First car I’ve owned that did something like that.

As much as it was amazing, it just started me thinking though…

While walking through Home Depot the next day, I got to seeing all the latest appliances with “smart connections” as well as retrofitting add-on sensors which basically give you the ability to do the same thing to virtually anything. Washers are now letting you know if the load is unbalanced, propane tank monitors indicate when a fill up is needed, and an egg counter can text an SOS when the count is below a half dozen. Hell, we can even hold a conversation “with” the phone. (Hello Siri…)

We’ve developed and refined technology in order for inanimate objects to tell us how they’re feeling that now outpaces our ability to do so to one another. Difference is, our inability is a choice.

It’s a shame that we’re volunteering our humanity piecemeal.

Looking around at my life, I see that I’m adding to this social divide in my own household. Not to go into detail, but it just became significant to me the day that my wife and I had a text conversation, and we were in the same house. Not like a case where I was in the basement and she was on the second floor; I was sitting on the couch in the living room, and she was literally across the way in the opened-door bedroom. Not even — if need be — shouting distance, pretty much just-at-conversational-level distance.

New rule I’ve implemented: No phones at restaurants. The world should be able to survive three courses. It’s a baby step, admittedly. But one that I feel will reclaim a piece of our humanity.

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