Warrior Words: In light of Sandy
By the time this article hits the presses, we will (hopefully) be luxuriating in the amenities that have become the necessities of daily life in the 21st Century: cable television, Internet access, electricity, running water, central heating systems — and the list goes on.
Not only did Frankenstorm Sandy steal Halloween, she made off with Facebook and Netflix! What’s a Millennial to do if she cannot stream videos to her laptop or the unthinkable occurs: her mobile cellular device dies. Dies! Such tragedy would result in the loss of ability to receive and send 15 textual messages per minute while taking a picture of herself using reverse camera mode and simultaneously playing online Pictionary with Grandma. As if!
I am a member of the first generation that will not remember life without computers. We have been nourished on gigabytes and are confused by the usage of the letter “I” unless followed by “pod,” “phone,” or “mac.” We will most likely develop crippling scoliosis since we are constantly slumped in front of computer screens for hours at a time, and some of us can type faster than Usain can run.
I find all of this deeply troubling. I hate that I am addicted to my phone and my iPod and various social networking sites. It is terribly disconcerting to find full afternoons effortlessly squandered doing absolutely nothing with a combination of those pesky devices. As far as being tech-savvy, I am unabashedly clueless. I just learned how to make a PowerPoint last year. My mom knows more about computers than I do. My grandma probably knows more about computers than I do.
The best part about an extended power outage is after the first three or four days because one finally adjusts to the lack of access to technological amenities. The compulsion to check email or Facebook profiles diminishes. We go to sleep when it gets dark outside. The body becomes re-attuned to its environment. We inch a little bit closer to our natural state. Then the power flicks back on, and, just like that, people revert to old habits.
Nothing good can come of a world of people whose lives are dictated by shiny little screens. The advent of handheld devices especially has led us astray from the Earth’s intrinsic rhythm; we have fewer meaningful person-to-person interactions and are less perceptive regarding our surroundings, our peers, and our selves. My peers and I have been charged with the painfully important task of correcting the mistakes made by those before us, including those that relate to the economy, the environment, and the state of foreign affairs. How are we supposed to accomplish any of this if we cannot remove ourselves from the control of a glowing rectangular prism for a week, a day, or even an hour?
This is the only world that I have ever known, and in all likelihood, as technology advances, our lives will only become more and more compacted into tiny gadgets. But I would just like the record to show that I do not approve, and I am most definitely not resigned.
Alosha Southern is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.