CH. 36 «The Screen»

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04-08-2309

Walking home last night, it was about 6 or 7 when I saw this girl on the other side of the street watching a video on her COG. We simultaneously pressed signalcalls on either side of the crosswalk. I caught her take a peek at me then quickly return her attention to whatever she was watching on a screen that was projected from an unseen device in her palm. As we passed each other in the middle, she focused as hard as she could on the holographic image, intent on pretending I wasn’t there—though she could clearly see me through the blue frame. I glanced back, then shook my head to myself as I reached the other side.

It’s said we spend over 12 hours a day staring a screen. It seems like a lot until you consider your comm, PDA, GPS, HUD, etc; think about your computer screen. Gork, I watched the news while I was taking a shower this morning. Even when we have screens everywhere from our vehicles to our vanities, 12 hours a day staring at CRTs, LCDs or optic diode arrays is still a lot.

It’s also said that a little under half that time is spent staring at the teli screen alone. The TV world is a dangerous place to expose yourself to for extended periods of time. All the people that exist there are so beautiful and rich, and more successful than we’ll ever be. They lead fantastic lives and go on compelling and extravagant adventures. Stories that don’t have to be good, just have exciting enough sequences to make the cut for TV audiences. These plots still are automatically on a par more astounding than any real life event could be.

I think this leads to a supreme disconnect in our society. I’ve noticed everywhere I go, if someone is walking they’ll have their ears and/or eyes occupied with some form of gadgetry. Typically they’re listening to music emitted into their ears directly by tiny earbuds. No biggie, people have been listening to headphones with portable players for years. But these days, its on their comm–and always texting. Seems you pull your comm out reflexively as soon as you’re about to walk by someone.

Best to have a good excuse for not making eye contact with someone, rather you get caught in an awkward staring match as you pass; because you’d rather not say anything to a stranger, right? Does anyone remember when people used to greet everyone they met all day? Does anyone care about a person they don’t know if they don’t look like they’re someone who can give you something? How can you be sure they actually have what you need? We know we can get it from the screen. Whatever we want or need, we know we just have to ask a screen to give it to us.

In order to develop properly, Gerund says, one must establish stable, long term relationships with other people they trust and know, real face to face interaction with other humans. I think we’ve all but substituted these, creating relationships with people we don’t know–celebrities and media personalities. Just characters, synthetic humanoids. We’ve mistaken our aliases and handles for our real names, our screennames becoming more synonymous with who we think we are. I almost wonder what reality is to some people, if they feel like they’re just playing a part. Do you realize there are no characters you can become cast as, you can always change your role.

And whenever I think about loneliness and feeling disconnected, I quickly realize there are at least half a thousand people living in Villa Venusia, and another two thousand in this square mile. Everyone’s in their own little world though, the screen their only eyes to see it with. And when nothing seen is real, they forget that the people and things they see out in the world aren‘t just fake too.

Meanwhile, just around the corner is a person whom I may have something in common with, someone I can have a conversation with and be friends. Who knows, maybe even a girl with whom I could be falling in love!

I’m looking in all the wrong places and my eyes hurt too much. I have to stop staring at the screen

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PREV: CH. 35 «Birthday Break-In»

PREV: CH. 35 «Birthday Break-In»

NEXT: CH. 37 «The Martian Pandemic»

NEXT: CH. 37 «The Martian Pandemic»

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