It hasn’t always been like this.Everything has changed so fast.Everything is changing even faster.They say the rate of change isexponential compounding day by day.I was conceived in 1979 and I wasbirthed in 1980. The ﬁrst computer Iremember using was either an AppleMacintosh or a Commadore 64. I’m notpositive which. My father Jim worked atan Apple store back when Apple wasn’t yet cool. He didn’t wear skinny jeansand no one called him a genius. Myparents refused to get us a Nintendo asmy mother swore that it would rot ourbrain, and so we rotted our brains withcomputer games instead. My motherassumed that if it was a game on acomputer then it must make you smarter-- somehow. To this day, I have a lovehate relationship with technology. I think my brother Bill, who does visual effectsin Hollywood (300, Transformers, Avatar) hates and loves technology evenmore than I do. Of course, that mightalso be because he’s lived in LA to long and has become jaded.The ﬁrst thing I ever remembering using a search engine for was byquerying Netscape Navigator “how tobuild an atomic bomb” during study hallin the library at school. I was only about12 or 13, and of course had nointentions other than addressing mycuriosity to the question of “what kind of information can be found here”. Itdidn’t take me long to ﬁnd theinstructions for building an atomic bomb,but luckily (for me) Walmart was all outof the proper ingredients. A few days ago I received an emailfrom an old friend, Brad. You mightknow him as Professor Reisinger. Three years ago I was in Brad’s wedding, andthen a month later he was in mine. Wewent to high school together,skateboarded and played soccer together-- and got disconnected after high schoolbut reconnected after college.Not too long after Brad and Jennywere married, they moved North. Bradand I attempted to stay in contact witheach other through digital dialogue, butunfortunately we were not able to seeeach other in person much over these years.Most of our conversation has alwaysrevolved around the great questions of life, and the intricacies of exploring themnot just alone, but also with other people.I can’t remember the last time I evensaw Brad. Maybe it was a fewThanksgivings ago? I’m really not sure.But what I am sure of is thatbecause we have lost close geographicaltouch, we have lost touch as friends. We’ve tried to stay in contact minimally,but it hasn’t really worked.Of course, I’m sure we’ve both keptup with each other’s blogs, our Facebook posts, maybe even links spit out throughTwitter, but that’s about it. That’s prettyimpersonal actually, and nothing tomaintain a relationship off of -- so I’velearned.Though Brad is unique, thelimitations of connection through thedigital is not. I’ve experienced a decreasein other relationships as well too whereour only connection is through the digitalwires. I’ve tried for years to stayconnected with my parents, but it hasn’treally worked as much as I hoped for. Itwill never replace spending time withthem in person.To compensate, my sibling’s and Ieven went in and bought my parentsiPhones so that we might stay more intouch. We setup a family blog. I wasabout the only one that would postconsistently. We grew a part. In a sense,the digital connection heightened ourfrustrations of not being able to trulyconnect with each other.It was if we knew more informationabout each other’s lives, but it didn’t tastethe same. It didn’t feel the same. That’sit, I realized, the feeling wasn’t the same. At this point, I’ve just had to accept this.And the same goes for Brad. I’ve hadto accept our relationship can’t be thesame unless we spend more time face toface. We’ve frustrated each other, asmost friends do, and even hurt eachother’s feelings through emails or otheronline comments. When you can’twitness the other person listening, it’shard to know if they really are.
We need to learn to trust eachother again, and that will not happen ata distance. That will not happenthrough email. Trust will not be builtover Facebook.
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Then notice themonk in the blueis holding aniPhone 4Notice theTibetanmonk in redis drooling over aniPhone 3Gwrapped in agolden plasticcaseTwitter @JLSpradlin