I’m a bitter, crotchety old man. This happened a lot sooner than I expected.
One of the earmarks of becoming a bitter, crotchety old man is the rejection of society around him. In the old days, this meant living along in an old wooden house, occasionally coming out onto the porch to throw rocks and angrily wave your cane at teenagers. But the times have changed. Now everything is about super-connectivity. There’s Facebook and Twitter and blogs and all sorts of wonderful cyberspace ways to know what everyone is doing at any given moment. The grouch of old will go outside, and find that there are no teenagers to throw rocks at – they’re all inside recording themselves on YouTube. Nowadays, the grouch will have to update his Facebook status to “Old Grouch says you kids all suck! get off my internets!” for anyone to listen to his crazy ramblings. But, by virtue of him being on the internet, he hasn’t truly rejected society. He’s a part of the information superhighway, lovingly embracing it like a tender 17 year old.
To truly reject society these days, you gotta do it old school. You have to go offline man.
While I’m not completely offline yet (or you wouldn’t be reading this…), I feel myself heading in that direction. Why, you may ask? Well, for one, the only Apple product I own I use almost exclusively for music.
(The audience gasps collectively in horror.)
That’s right, I don’t even have an iPhone. 3G, 4G, Kenny G, whatever, I don’t have one. I really only use my cell phone for email, phone calls occasionally, and some very light net browsing. The iPhone seemed like overkill to me. Applications for Facebook, apps for checking your stocks, apps to remind you when your wife’s birthday is, apps to remind you when your mistress’s birthday is, apps to show you the fastest escape route out of your own apartment, apps to cook you a 3-egg scrambled breakfast within your recommended daily nutritional value…it’s all a bit dizzying. Apparently though, I’m one of the few who has yet to sign up for the Steve Jobs Doctrine. A friend of mine’s wife expressed surprised when she found out I didn’t have an iPhone. “All the foreign guys I know have one” she said, and sure enough, they did. I work a job now with more foreign people, and the ratio of iPhone users to non-iPhone users is like 7:3 (one of the non-iPhone guys uses Google Android though). Even among Japanese people, I’m seeing more and more of the iPhone – but that’s not really a surprise.
World: Hey Japan, everybody’s doing this thing…wanna join us?
Japan: A chance to conform? Where do we line up to do that!
Smart phones are cool and all, considering that I use a computer at work, and have a computer at home (used to…more on that in a bit…), do I really need another little mini-computer for all the times in between? While some people have compared them to the nifty little data pad thingies on Star Trek, I just see us inching closer and closer to The Matrix. We’re going to be so connected that no one is going to know what’s going on in the real world anymore. I could walk around naked on the street, and unless someone Tweets about it no one would know.
@OLGal: Hey, I heard there’s this big black dude walking around naked in Shinsaibashi.
@Tetsu/Jin: I’m in Shinsaibashi now…anyone got a jpeg or YT video of this?
@MrMissile: I think I saw him in the reflection of my iPhone, but by the time I started up the camera he was gone.
@OLGal: Vids or it didn’t happen.
More than my rejection of smart phones, what really makes me feel like the grumpy old miser is that I actually don’t have a home computer right now.
It wasn’t by choice. My old laptop broke down. Originally, I panicked. I started looking into ways to repair or replace it. Unfortunately, my wife brought me back to reality rather quickly.
Me: So I was looking at this nice Dell…
Her: Um, honey?
Me: But Sony VAIO is also nice…
Her: Um…before you start getting to deep into that…
Me: What’s wrong?
Her: A new computer isn’t exactly in our budget.
Me: I wasn’t talking about state-of-the-art systems. Just something decent.
Her: Yeah, that’s not in the budget either.
Me: Okay, well then, how about a value system?
Me: Okay then, what IS in the budget?
Her: We could buy matches to make smoke signals.
Her: No…the matches are kind of pushing it, actually.
So with a new computer completely and totally out of the picture, we were both forced to settle for a life unplugged, away from the warm glow of cyberspace and thrust into the cold, un-loving hands of IRL.
You know what though? It’s actually not that bad. When we absolutely positively have to use the internet, we can use our cell phones, my iPod Touch, or the PlayStation 3. We can no longer surf random sites, keep up on message boards or random blogs or things like that, but I don’t really miss it. I feel kind of bad for my wife – now being 6 months pregnant and not working, it leaves her with not much to do at home, but she’s found a way to occupy her time – making baby clothes. We still don’t know the sex of the baby, but she’s avoiding that problem by making gender-neutral stuff. With lots of lace and frills. So I’m thinking either she’s expecting a girl, or baby Prince. I would be okay with baby Prince, so long as he grows up to sing Purple Rain, and his basketball game is rivaled only by his delicious pancakes.
The one glaring problem with not having a computer though – you guessed it – is porn. I was prepared for this – I have most of the good stuff backed up, and I have some stored on easily accessible devices for my viewing pleasure. Of course I was prepared – I grew up in an age where porn wasn’t easily accessible. We had to have backups just in case something happened. Unfortunately, no computer means no way to get any new stuff, so that may be a problem in the future. I’m good for the moment though.
Of course, having a computer would be good, and if I could turn enough tricks on the street…well first I guess I would pay all those past due bills first, and then I would look into buying a new computer. That’s a lot of tricks though, so I’ll have to keep my weekends open I guess. Ahem, anyway, yes having a computer would be nice, but I’ve found that not having one isn’t the life-crippling handicap I feared it to be. So if I am this content with not being plugged into all the latest gadgetry, what happens 5 years from now? 10? 20? Will my kids have to drag me kicking and screaming to the holodeck, while I complain about how in the old days if we wanted to play baseball we actually went to a field and did it instead of recreating it in a computer program? You may laugh at the absurdity of what I just said, but how many of you have ever played Wii Sports? See! The techno apocalypse is closer than you imagine.
Now get offa my lawn unless you want me to Twitter a rock.jpg to your file server. It’ll be a really big rock too.