Project 313 – Post No. 015

We went for a walk. It was the other day, as I write this, so it was almost a week ago based on when this will get published. We walked a couple of miles (almost). I had my P900 with me but — as we exited the complex and turned South on Aliʻi Drive — I realized I didn’t have my phone. 

Melisa had her S8, so we weren’t in danger of being disconnected from the rest of the world but I still had this urge to go back to the unit and get the phone. Ostensively, it was because of the Note’s 8 cameras (yes, there are two) . . . but I had a camera with me and one that’s more versatile than the phone’s. I mean, yes, the Note 8 allows for different types of photos than the regular camera — not better; just different — but nothing I couldn’t replicate with the P900. 

We kept walking, in part because I didn’t want to admit dependency to the comforting weight of the phone in my pocket. But, truthfully, the whole time I “didn’t feel right” and my mind kept going back to the tragedy of me falling victim to one of the most dreaded of First World Problems: separation from my phone resulting in a lack of immediate access to all the Interweb has to offer (and the second half of that wasn’t even true because we did have a phone with us . . . just not mine). It was a double tragedy because it was of my own making!

It was all fine, of course; I used the P900 and snapped a few interesting photos to add to the thousands of other interesting photos I have . . . but it got me thinking. 

I’m old enough to remember a time when we didn’t have a phone with us at all times. Mind you, I would have liked to have one as I wanted to keep in touch with Melisa when we were apart. In that regard, e-mail works very well. Texting fulfills some of the same function but I don’t like it as well. 

But, that’s not how we use the phones these days or why we “feel lost” without them. 

Like the above, it’s immersion . . . we are perpetually connected to a sea of information and addicted to keeping our fingers on the pulse of the World; to catching as many heartbeats as we can. It goes both ways, too. The world knows a lot about us, starting with where we are and what we’re doing. 

Is it a craving to belong, to feel a part of something larger than ourselves? They call it connectivity, but are we connecting? 

I’m obviously not the first to make this observation, but we put ourselves into a position where a person halfway around the world can “hurt us” as easily as they can “like” what we do. And, although we don’t “know” these people, they have an inordinate effect on our mood, self-esteem, and the enjoyment of our lives (or the hating of our lives).  You post what you think is a clever and innocuous joke on Twitter and next thing you know, your world is turned upside down

There’s something else . . . the access to not just news but also “instant” opinions about that news seems to foster a permanently stressed state of being. 

“Insulted” and “offended” are badges we wear both so we can recognize others like us and validate our hatred for those who dare think differently. And these badges demand immediate allegiance; before we know facts, before we understand ramifications, before we even acknowledge the world is seldom as it first appears. 

Yes, there are good things about phones . . . but the bad is very bad. 

Just try leaving the phone at home next time you head out. It’s an interesting experiment; you should try it. Even if you can manage it, keep track of your anxiety level and then ponder the implications. My guess is you’ll rationalize and justify the feeling.

Now, imagine being off the Interweb, or Cable News, for even a few days. Would it feel like you had just died and were missing out on your life? Would it be a tragic thing to even contemplate? For many, I think so. 

To lighten the mood, let me speak about art . . . art and I have a difficult relationship because a lot that is not only classified as art but also assigned great value appears — to me — pretentious and arbitrary.

There’s a magazine I get called Art in America. It has stories and photos of some neat pieces but — honestly — the majority of the magazine is . . . I was going to say “crappy” but I should be more diplomatic and say “underwhelming.” 

Look, I get it; it’s subjective. But, by that metric, toilet papering a tree can be considered art . . . and some of the art I see is not that far removed from that. I know, I know; it’s about making a statement. Right.

Well, here we have a representation of the complexity of life’s experiences and the diversity of life itself as expressed by constructing what could be considered eyes out of randomly drawn multicolored sparkly lines. I call it Worried Eyes. I’m putting it up for sale and conservatively pricing it at $32,547. For $20 more, I’ll even sign it. 

Worried Eyes

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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