In Dependence

Sorry I haven’t been posting much this past few days, but I’ve been helping my mother move.

When I was a kid, she talked nonstop about her big dream, moving to San Diego and living by the beach. But we took fewer vacations to San Diego than we took to San Francisco, and that’s why, when I moved away from Phoenix, I moved to the Bay area. Now, nearly 15 years later, Mom has finally decided to move to San Francisco as well. Instead of the sunny beaches of San Diego, she’s got the shitty, cold beaches of San Francisco.

There are a few things about moving anywhere that are just crap. One of them is having to wait around to get your internet hooked up. My mother didn’t realize how much she depended on the internet just to feel connected to the world until she didn’t have it anymore. Just before she left Phoenix for the last time, she called me and told me that I didn’t need to pick her up from the airport – she could just take BART to Balboa Park and then take the 29 bus to within half a block of her house.

I didn’t even know that. She knew it because she looked it up.

I didn’t know about Shazam, the service that lets me quit asking people “What’s this song? The one that’s playing right now?” until my mother told me. Or about Pandora, Angry Birds, or a million other really convenient things. My mother, the 70-year-old connectivity whiz kid.

But now, the poor woman is sitting alone in her new house, the house where she can’t watch her Roku, or stream something on Netflix, or answer any of the emails that are piling up because all her old friends miss her, or even comment on this blog post, telling me that I’m wrong, she wouldn’t take the 29, she’d take some other bus. In the two days we were there to help her, I was annoyed at how hard it was to answer email, read people’s blog, etc., from my phone. It’s hard to remember what it’s like to live without the internet, even though I’ve had internet for less than half my life.

It does make me wonder what the future will look like for my kid. She goes to a school that doesn’t believe in computers, but that doesn’t mean we shun them at home. She has never lived without global connectivity. Will she one day be able to IM her friend on a moon station? Will she be able to have connected devices implanted into her skin?

Will she be just as dependent on it as I have become?

4 responses

  1. Sometimes I think it is scary how dependent we have become upon the Internet I am only 19 and my childhood was spent without the Internet and I had the best childhood…yet, now, I can’t imagine life without it 🙂

  2. No kidding! I find myself getting annoyed at places that don’t allow you to make appointments or reservations online. Today, I took my mother to get her bus pass, because they don’t take applications for a senior bus pass online or over the phone. It felt crazy to me to stand in a queue for 45 minutes!

  3. I like this school. I’m very unconvinced that most of school spending on high technology is anything but a waste of money in most cases.

    • Tech has so much promise, but to fulfill the promise of things like detailed, interactive lessons tailored to every student, schools would have to spend a fortune on IT infrastructure. Every public school my kid has been to has been lucky to have 5 or 6 non-networked computers, each at least 5 years old.

      My kid is learning so much more without the distractions of technology, and I really believe that all the new, astounding technologies will come from kids like these who didn’t grow up with an iPhone growing out of their heads, and so don’t have a set idea about how they’re supposed to interact with technology. If you don’t know what already exists, you’re free to imagine anything.

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