Sunday, August 22, 2010

Random thoughts

I just brought my daughter back to college and spent the day with her driving, unpacking, going to lunch, etc. I came away with some observations, nothing terribly stunning but interesting:

1) Despite all the political activism to save Darfur, getting colleges to divest in certain investments, etc., it seems the activism ends at inconvenience. The latest big issue is the boycott of Target and Best Buy for their political contribution to a far right candidate in Minnesota. When I asked my daughter whether she thought students would honor the boycott, she said no. "Yeah, and buy stuff like water bottles at the bookstore? They just rip you off. The students can just walk to Target and get it for half the price.
2) The irony of being connected is really striking me. My kids are always connected, BBMing, IMing, texting.....but are not really connected. They will always answer my texts, but rarely pick up the phone when I call, even though I know they always have their phones on them. In the middle of a conversation, the thumbs are moving replying to texts they get. My daughter told me how bad it was when her phone broke. She never knew what was going on and when and where people were meeting. It was like being grounded, not being able to participate in the information flow. I used to think it was great to stay so connected with so many people, but something recently made me think of this differently. I got a request for information from a parent who left her phone number but, at the end of the message, left her e-mail address. I was so relieved, because I really didn't want to talk to this person and I could just leave an e-mail. It hit me how electronic communication lacks any intimacy and is so non-threatening but also so distant.