Thursday, August 1, 2013

Unconnected

My father recently replied to an email I'd written weeks before; as to the late reply, he said that he was confused about the issue of "family connectedness" I'd mentioned. He didn't explain his confusion, but I suspect that he wonders whether I've inherited from him a tendency to be less connected.

This is a subject I've pondered in various ways throughout the years. A movie I watched a few months ago caused me to revisit the subject in a new light. The movie, "Giant Mechanical Man", depicts a culture in which people, in general, are difficult to connect with. Everyone wears earbuds; they listen to material on electronic gadgets rather than to anyone else, and no one is available for others.

What I realized while watching is: that's me. I listen to audiobooks every day. I walk to work with earbuds nestled in, and I regularly go out to restaurants while listening to stories, too. I even listen to stories while grocery shopping, and while I'm out running. I'm not doing it to avoid others, yet I wonder whether it's a habit that aids in my tendency to be less connected. Technology is the new evil because it separates us; on the other hand, it's nothing new that being separate is "worrisome."

Maybe I should make myself available to friends and family more often than I do, but I don't think I have a responsibility to make myself available to the entire world. If someone wants to talk with me, I'm not going to avoid them. I welcome it. I'm not trying to ignore people, nor am I callous. While I'm not motivated to create or maintain as many as others might like, I do desire meaningful connections. I may want fewer, but the deeper they are the better.

In a way, I find that it helps that I listen to stories. It helps me to understand myself and the world. It gives me a way to connect with others -- with something that I care about: good stories. And what's the point in sharing stuff unless I care about it?

What's the point in being connected unless I mean it?

 

4 comments:

Mei said...

I am happy for you to simply say hello now and then and tell me of your days.

I am not unhappy with the electronic life but I do mourn the "disconnect" it has encouraged. I wish to know my neighbors.

Zeri Kyd said...

Mei, thanks, and thanks. I like to know my neighbors, too, but only to an extent. I mean, I suppose it depends on where I lived. If I lived on a farm and my nearest neighbors were miles away, I'd hope to know them well. As it is, my neighborhood is downtown Seattle, and I probably wouldn't be able to handle knowing all of the city.

By the way, I am happy to know you.

C. said...

Hey Zeri,

I've been thinking about this a lot. If I'm going out somewhere, I often have my headphones with me to tune out other people and noise. I don't hate people, and more often than not I don't mind being "disturbed" when I'm out and about. But getting lost in my music is such a pleasure to me that I don't like going a long time without it. However, I fear that I'm missing out on experiencing life in this way.

Then, at other times I believe I'm overthinking things. I like to be in my head a lot, so what, that's not a crime. And it's during the usual tasks of going to the grocery store or something that I want to zone out. Usually nothing particularly exciting happens at the grocery store.

Zeri Kyd said...

C, yes, that's the thing exactly: making sure not to miss out on life. That means not neglecting the things that are important to you. As long as that stuff is covered, and as long as there's a balance, then I agree -- there's no harm in getting lost in another world.