Do you fancy some take-out Chinese food? Pull up Uber-Eats on your phone. Choices galore. Need more paper for your printer? More moisturizer? New sneakers? New socks or insoles for your old sneakers? All these and more are available to be delivered right to your door, sometimes on the same day on Amazon. Technology has turned us into a society of recluses.
I have fallen in love with ordering my groceries online and either having my husband pick them up at the special curbside pickup location, or for a measely $5.00 extra they will deliver and carry them right into my kitchen. How can an old boomer not take advantage of that kind of service?
While I do miss the fun of searching for something new to wear, and I enjoy touching and feeling the season’s latest fashion offerings at my nearby mall, I’ve been curtailing my shopping trips because I already have more than I need. Also, whenever I go to the grocery store or the mall, I end up picking up various impulse purchases that I may later regret and inevitably do not need. Online shopping reins me in a bit—just a bit.
Thanks to streaming services like Firestick, Netflix and Prime, I no longer have to go to the movies. I can settle down in my comfy La-Z-Girl with a cup of tea and a cookie at my side and take my pick of the latest flicks. I do miss the theatre experience, however, with a pail full of fountain Diet Coke in the armrest cupholder and a bucket of warm buttered popcorn balanced carefully between my knees. (Bottled Diet Coke, or even worse, canned pop, just don’t satisfy the way fountain drinks do.)
I rarely have to go to the mailbox to post a letter or pay a bill anymore because we have email, online banking, Messenger, pre-authorized payments, and Facetime. Even doctors’ appointments can be conducted online these days. I have attended writing seminars online through Zoom. Amazingly, we have the ability to learn absolutely anything free and easily thanks to YouTube. Need to repair your toilet? Instructions at your fingertips, if you’re so inclined. What grew from necessity during COVID has become a lifestyle.
The pictures below perfectly illustrate our trending state of social isolation.
30 people getting coffee
30 people enjoying coffee
Young people are particularly vulnerable to the downside and addictive qualities of technology. Will they ever experience the same high and excitement we did when we joined our friends after school at Long’s Restaurant in the sixties for a Coke and a plate of fries? No phones involved. Just lots of chatter, giggling, sharing of secrets and advice. We didn’t have to promote ourselves online with heavily edited and filtered photos. Personal contact was enjoyed and cherished, unfiltered and utterly real. When I see young people gathered at a restaurant or food court these days they’re all focused on their smart phones and not engaging in personal conversation.
Guilty As Charged
I know I too have become far too dependent on my iPad and laptop to keep me engaged and busy. But, is it the wrong kind of busy? The ability to source nearly anything my heart desires online has turned me into a hermit. I never have to leave the house. Technology has turned Lynda into a dull and lazy slug.
I plan to make a concerted effort to get out more. It’s time for more lunch and movie dates, more aimless shopping sprees with a stop for a Timmie’s steeped tea with a girlfriend, more exploring local activities in our city. It’s time to shake off the barnacles, revisit the wardrobe hanging unworn in my closet, put on some makeup, dust off those pretty shoes I never wear, and get myself out there socializing.
Many of us lost interest in entertaining and having people over for dinner during the pandemic. In talking with my own friends, I’m not sure when or if the urge to entertain will return. I’m finding we’re sick and tired of cooking and after more than sixty years of kitchen duty we’re more amenable to eating out and letting someone else do the work.
Earlier this week I met a girlfriend for lunch at an Italian restaurant. The weather cooperated and we ate in their outdoor patio. The sunshine and warm breezes were so lovely we laughed and talked for more than four hours. Bliss. We sure couldn’t get away with that when we were working! Get your motor running, girls! It’s time to shave our legs, paint our nails, and shake off those COVID dust bunnies. Let’s rock & roll while we still can—out in the real world!