My husband pointed out to me the other day, when he saw me trying out new WordPress themes, that changing my blog’s theme wouldn’t change my life– that if I wanted to change my life I needed to work on applying for teaching jobs. It’s true. I love trying out new designs (in fact, I did get a new theme for this blog), but what I really want is to teach interpreting in a university, and to do that, I have to spend my time on what matters. I did gather my concentration and apply to four different teaching positions. The idea of relocating is both scary and exciting. I’m ready for a change, and while I have some fear of the unknown, I have more hope than fear. Into the unknown might be just where I’m meant to go. And it might be my best location yet.
– A peculiarly poetic email in my Spam folder today
I started thinking tonight about how I remembered a time before every town — nay, every corner — had a Walgreen, Walmart, Starbucks, CVS, Dollar General, QT, 7-11 (are there 7-11′s anymore?), Circle K, etc. Then I realized it was September 11th and it would be wrong not to add that to the mix. Well, this is not a Nine Eleven post, but it’s on 9/11, so I will add to this that, unlike anyone eleven years old or younger today, I remember a time before 9/11. I remember a time when we called the World Trade Center the twin towers. I remember when Philippe Petit walked between them on a tightrope. I remember a time before the twin towers. I remember a time before motion screen billboards. I remember a time before wrap billboards. I remember a time when billboards were rolled out in paper and the strips had to line up just so. I remember a time before Apple. I remember a time before Microsoft. I remember a time before the iPhone, the iPad, Google, AOL, Facebook, Twitter, Quora (I don’t even use Quora), social media, sexual harassment (as a term)… although I remember hearing a joke about Catholic priests and choir boys at summer camp when I was 10, in 1977, just before this movie called Star Wars came out. So let’s say I remember a time before people said they were shocked that Roman Catholic priests were molesting and raping boys– I remember when it was so well-known there were jokes about it. Hypocrites.
Hmph. As I was saying… I remember when I had never heard of Starbucks. I remember the first time I saw one I was vacationing in Seattle in 1990. Within a year or two, they were everywhere. I remember when a tweet was a sound a bird made, blah, blah, blah. I’m 45. It’s not so old.
And yet, you know what else I remember? I remember when I was in first and second grade and being told we had to learn the metric system because we would all be moving to it. Whatever happened to that, huh? I remember when we were going to go solar in the 70s. Whatever happened to that? I grew up watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, and Space 1999. I thought we would be living on the moon by the end of the twentieth century and in space by the twenty-first. I also grew up believing in and praying fervently for World Peace by the Year 2000! (Soka Gakkai) How about that world peace? Well, if we can’t even switch to the metric system…
I am not a man who is shocked at all this “newfangled technology.” I’m a boy who grew up expecting a world bigger, better, greater, and more peaceful than what we have now. I hear it’s patent law and trademark and copyright and litigation that’s holding us back, and I’m not surprised. I see trillions (is that enough, or is it quadrillions?) burned, bloodied, killed, wasted, and wounded in war, killing, destruction, neglect… I see greed and money stolen from the middle class and given to the rich while the poor have less of a chance of becoming middle class.
We have such great technology, it’s both awesome and terrifying. When I see what filmmakers do with technology, sometimes it restores my faith in humanity. A lot of what people do with technology in social media, photos, videos, words, music– these things restore my faith in humanity. I suppose I should count us lucky that our whole world hasn’t been demolished, and I do! We are lucky, and I guess we are doing something right. We have a long way to go, though. It’s not too late to adopt that metric system, go solar, wind, water, clean energy, sustainable. It’s not too late to make this world the great place we thought it would be when we grew up. I think I have an idea for tomorrow morning. I’m going to wake up and ask myself, “What can I do today to help make this world a great as I hoped it would be when I was a boy?”
POTUS on the Romney-Ryan plan: “Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”—
Obama 2012 (@Obama2012) September 07, 2012
I just saw two $20 bills on the floor in the airport in a long walkway between two terminals. No one behind me or ahead of me except a pilot who saw them too. I wasn’t going to just leave them there! I could actually use the money right now, so just in case it was meant to be manna from heaven I pocketed the bills. To be fair, though, I went to the nearest paging assistance location to report the money to lost-and-found. Then the pilot walked up with a guy and said, “This is the guy who dropped the money.” So I said, “Okay! Here you go.” Glad it worked well for all concerned. I feel sort of icky about picking up the bills, but if I had left them there, someone less honest than I might have taken them and not reported it. I guess I did the right thing.
What would you do?
P.S. In a weird turn of reciprocity, I left my laptop on the plane, which I’ve never done before, and was able to claim it the same day. No damage, no identify theft, all good. Thank goodness for honesty!
Today it’s Facebook, Google+, Twitter. Yesterday it was rap groups, support groups, open mic. I don’t remember feeling like nobody cared what I had to say when I was speaking to people in person. Now that I’m writing for the Internet — for the past 17 years or so, and sharing on social media for the past six — I’m wondering if anyone cares what I have to say. I don’t think I’m alone in this. So many people are sharing so much, be it on blogs or social media, that it’s impossible for us all to take each other in. I guess some people on the Internet form communities like groups on Flickr or writers of similar blogs on WordPress. But I like the idea of sharing with the world, or should I say, being heard by people all over the world. I’d like to think that people care what I have to say, but the stats on my posts often don’t show that they do. And maybe they don’t. We can’t all care what we all have to say, can we? Maybe it’s okay to say it, though. Maybe it’s okay to journal publicly, and if someone gets something out of it, great. If not, we’ve simply made public something we would have written in a journal anyway, and there’s no reason to keep it a secret. Some say we live in a time of oversharing, and that might be true. I would like to think, though, that even if no one cares what I have to say until years from now, or even if I’m the only one who cares what I have to say, it’s worth it. I might look back on this years from now and be glad I wrote it. Someone reading this today or many days from now might take solace in it. I guess for now I’ll try not to care whether anyone cares what I have to say, and just keep saying what I have to say.
- Enough With the Enemas: Why People Overshare At Work (businessweek.com)
- The benefits of a platform (anneksmith.wordpress.com)
- It’s NOT Complicated, It’s A Digital World, You Need A Digital Marketing Strategy: That Was Easy (anisesmithmarketing.com)
- The Psychology of Social Media (marketingtechblog.com)
- Why Twitter has been good for me (concretemoomin.wordpress.com)
- Beware of Oversharing in the Age of Facebook (crttbuzzbin.com)
P.S. Come to think of it, when I was talking to people in person, I was talking to groups, not the world. Maybe there is something to sharing on the Internet with groups after all. What do you think? Please leave a comment below. I do care what you have to say.