Sunday, March 1, 2009

Modern Times, Modern Whines...

In my introductory post, I wrote that I'd been resisting blogging for quite a while, because it didn't really fit with my sense of self. I thought I might expand on that a little...

I'm far from a Luddite, but I do firmly believe that many of our modern technological marvels have done more damage than good to the soul of our society. Do we really need to be "connected" 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Are all those people walking around, oblivious to the world outside of their own heads, with cell phones attached to ears and blackberries attached to thumbs, really so vital that they cannot be out of touch for the three minutes walk between their apartment and the corner store? Will the very world cease to function without their constant monitoring and direction?

Please, unless people commonly refer to you as "Your Royal Highness", put down the freaking Blackberry and watch where you're going, unless you want to risk being kneecapped by some guy whizzing by in a wheelchair. The very thought of such an "always on" world makes me want to find a nice cave in which to take up residence.

Truth be told, I am a bit of a walking (well, sitting, actually) anachronism. I think I'd be much more comfortable in 1950 that I am in 2009. I'd enjoy living in a world where your boss might invite you into his office for a scotch and a smoke, men wore hats (I have a Fedora fetish), and the Dodgers played in Brooklyn. A time when Dizzy, Monk, and Bird were not adjectives and nouns, but musical savants who you could catch almost any night of the week by hoofing it down to 52nd St.. When pop music was Sinatra singing "Don't Worry 'bout Me", Bogart was the embodiment of male cool, and when home run hitters and touchdown scorers simply returned to the bench after doing their jobs, without any of the gyrating, chest pounding, and asinine displays of self-love that we see today. Of course, my version of 1950 includes no traces of Joseph McCarthy, or the racism and sexism that was endemic back then.

And yet, here I am blogging. One man can't impede the tides of time, unless he's willing to get washed out to sea in the process. In a way, being afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis has forced me into the technological embrace, as the Internet is a vital link to the outside world when you're dealing with limited mobility. Without the online MS community, dealing with this illness would be infinitely harder, both in terms of getting information on the disease, and getting to know others who are going through similar experiences. Some of my best friends are now people I've never actually met, many of whom I know only by their screennames. Remarkable, really.

So here I stand, or sit, blogging away, ass planted firmly in my wheelchair in 2009...


  1. I have to agree with the technology. Probably more so now than before.

    Why, when two people are together, they are both on their cell or blackberry. Are they talking or texting each other?

    I just want to grab the phones and scream... stop this crap. Walk, look around, enjoy the scenery. You may be in this wheelchair someday and wish you had enjoyed a noncyber life.

  2. I for one am glad that you decided to join the world of blogging. Although, I understand the absurd nature of all the technological "advancements", I am also glad that it is around. Perhaps, it could be used much less, but it does allow for connection with an outside world, when your world has become smaller by leaps and bounds. Thank you for being willing to open up and share!

  3. A random comment: until recently, electric wheelchairs were susceptible to the emf's emitted by cell phones causing them to lurch forward or backward unpredictably. This happened in Vancouver, Canada. Poor guy was waiting to embark the SkyTrain and a signal sent his chair into the high voltage track below! That's the rumor from my OT anyhow.

    More reason to "disengage" while walking down the street.

  4. MS bites: that's it exactly. The healthy people waste so much time, if they only knew...

    Anita: yes, dealing with MS before the Internet must have been extremely isolating. At least now we can share the joys of MS with each other...

    weeble: the controller of my wheelchair actually has a sticker on it with a "no cell phones" symbol. I assumed they meant they don't want you talking on the cell phone while you're driving, but maybe they don't want the cell phone accidentally taking control of the chair...

  5. Marc,
    I, myself, could have written much of what you did. We are the same age, and I too am completely baffled by people's need to be constantly connected. (I take more of a leave me the F--- alone attitude.)

    My major difference would be I live more in the late 60's - early 70's. I do like jazz, but Motown is what makes memories flood back. And I spent more than my share of time trekking to Dead shows and hanging with free-love soccer bums.

    I, too, have this F---er of a disease, and I genuinely admire your approach to living with it.

    Lisa (chemdoc)

  6. Cell phone can interfere with the chair electronics--I had trouble braking mine once when the person next to me was on the phone, has happened a few times. I can't explain it, but I also can't explain why our microwave cuts the internet connection to my computer every time so that I have to reset it.

    I usually keep mine turned off, just for emergencies but I haven't had any trouble from mine when I've forgotten.

    People texting and walking are dangerous to us and themselves.