“What are you doing right now?”
Let’s see … right now I am typing these letters on my computer. Now I am thinking about what to write next. Oops…now I’m thinking about lunch. And now I’m wondering if this column will be worth reading.
What are you doing right now?
Have you responded to that Facebook status query – Once? Hourly? Daily? Weekly?
Some of you will admit that you are regular responders to that apparently mundane, boring, insipid question.
My question is: Why?
Have we become so distracted by trivia that we have to regularly respond to such banality?
Equally as problematic, in my opinion, is another time-waster: texting. What has happened to us that we have to be constantly updated on every extraneous activity in which our friends participate?
Both Facebook and texting definitely have their upsides: Facebook is a great tools for reuniting with lost friends and keeping in touch and texting is handy for checking with a family member on what time dinner is.
But must we constantly be in contact? In Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Murderer” from 1953, the protagonist is so overwhelmed by constant communication from even his stove (“The roast is done. The roast is done”) and the door mat (“Wipe your feet. Please be neat.”) that he “murders” all his talking appliances.
Bradbury’s vision was of wrist radios, with which everyone could be constantly in contact with everyone else. His projections were only slightly amiss. He did not foresee cell phones that communicate with voice and texting, and take pictures, and check email, and play games, and…
But he did foresee the time when quiet would disappear, when ordinary conversation would be replaced by toneless abbreviated words.
I want to become a “murderer.” I want to convince people I know and love and work with and visit with and have known for years and have known for only a short time. I want to convince them all!
I want them to stop responding to “What are you doing right now?” I want them to stop texting every spare moment. I want them to realize that very few emergencies will require immediate attention to the cell phone or the computer.
I want to return to ordinary conversations, lunch with friends, dinner with the family, social gatherings, picnics, fun times at the beach…
Will you join my crusade? If it doesn’t interest you, if you’ve been captured by the robotic “I-must-go-to-Facebook” or “I-must-text-now-to-tell-Mary-about-my-dream-last-night,” you are not a candidate for my revolution.
But if you’re tired of the mundane, the boring, the ridiculously repetitive, email me or call me, and we’ll plan our attack. (Or you could go to my Facebook account – I actually have two – and let me know what you’re doing right now…)