Common sense no more

If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that lately my posting is not as regular as it used to be…this is intentional. Life is hectic and crazy and while it’s also the norm in my life, one of my goals this year is to spend less time on-line. I suppose I will always blog, especially since my writing both on this blog and the column I write locally have garnered some good attention. That said, while the connections I have made on-line in the last decade have been a lifeline especially in my early days in Maine, I am reminded lately that I prefer real time connections.

I am a strange introvert-extrovert combination. I like my alone time, hell I need it but I also need human connections. Lately I have found myself thinking there are limits to online communication. Technology is a good thing but as one of my best friends expressed to me, sometimes there is just too much. In fact the older I get, I see all this connection as taking away from one thing that value dearly…common sense.

Recently I have become disgusted with all the petty bickering I see as a result of “friends” not being able to share opposing views on sites such as Facebook. Join a group and everyone’s got an opinion about it, share an article and suddenly if you don’t think like everyone else you are an unenlightened boob. At the same time I cannot help thinking if folks were actually sitting down face to face sharing their views would folks be so quick to get their panties in a bunch? I have a good friend who is a very Republican Republican, clearly we don’t always see eye to eye but for most of our relationship we have been able to overcome our differences in part because we talk about them. Yet in these rushed times where many relationships are sustained electronically as we become to busy to get together, we instead choose to discuss things in forums that often times put limits on how much we can say…160 characters anyone?

Such forums do not allow us to plumb the deeper meanings so it becomes a lot easier to say so and so just does not get it. Sorry, but it’s just too much for me. That said, I recognize these technologies are here to stay so I adjust myself accordingly but lately feel the need to take breaks on an as needed basis to maintain my sanity.

While I am pondering the lack of common sense, let me bring up another issue. What the hell is up with all this text messaging? Now we must have laws to remind people that when driving a car, maybe its a bad idea to do anything other than drive the fucking car! Helloooo! Common sense 101! Of course you ought to drive a car when you are behind the bill, what else should you be doing? For many folks as our cellular phones have become equipped with so many gadgets that we just cannot pull ourselves away, after all heave forbid we will miss so and so’s lately status update, we must check that email and cars and pedestrians be damned.

Recently my Pops shared with me that he felt more and more folks back in my hometown of Chicago walk down the street like zombies, no one can make eye contact because they are too busy texting. He shared with me that even coffeehouses and Starbucks places that used to brim with conversation are too often quiet as everyone sips their beverage and tends to their addiction of choice…iPhone, Blackberry, laptop, etc. I admit at first when my Pops shared this with me that maybe he was off base after all he is a real old guy. Well one of my bestest and dearest buddies who still lives in Chicago called this weekend and when I brought up what my Dad had shared with me, he agreed completely with my Pop’s assessment that they are all zombies. In fact B shared with me how just that day, a guy was so busy texting while walking down the street that he almost ran directly into B. B is a 6’2 225 lb Black man and generally speaking not someone you just run into…he said this sort of thing is now almost a daily occurence for him when walking down the street.

I don’t know about you, but the idea that someone could become so engrossed in their text or gadget in one of the largest cities in the US (3rd largest) that they would not pay attention to their surroundings is a tad scary. Hell, once one of uncles was drunk riding the el train and dozed off only to wake up and find he no longer had a wallet since his front pockets had been slashed. Yeah, he was drunk but as you can see not paying attention in a big city is just a bad idea…pickpockets must be heaven with folks so unaware.

Look, I like social media as much as anyone but you can best believe that there is a time and place for it. Call me old-fashioned but walking down the street is probably not the best time to send a message. I mean really how many of us have that much going on that a message can not wait?

I ended my conversation with B stating at times I swear we are starting to experience the decline of common sense to which he agreed. So I share that same sentiment with you as well…one day we will share quaint stories with the grandkids about this thing called common sense and how it kept us safe, and it will be oh so quaint. Of course we could step back and see what changes we can make now and maybe we can preserve it.

Have a great week!