The words below were written to express a bit of simmering frustration with what I feel is our increasingly isolating, digital world. The tale is one of an exaggerated situation, on an imaginary day far in the future. At least, I think the situation is exaggerated and imaginary. Don’t take it too seriously. Thanks, in advance, for considering my, admittedly, antiquated perspective.
by G. E. Shuman
What is that bright thing outside the window? I’m not sure.
Oh yes, it is the sun. Hey, my iphone is dead! I need to charge it. Now!
Wait a minute. Where am I? I feel like I can barely move. Oh, my hands hurt.
I can hardly pry the phone from my palm. It is embedded there, tarnished,
almost rusty in its place, where it has always been, I think. This thing
has shaped my palm, my sight, my thoughts… maybe, my life.
I’m feeling fear now. Where are Mom and Dad, and my little sister?
Somehow, there is a sinking feeling that they are gone.
All those I see, scurrying about me… are total strangers.
I know I am in bed, but not in my bed, in our house.
And they are bringing a plastic tray of food to my stand.
This place smells like old people. Is it a nursing home?
Where did these thick eyeglasses come from?
And look at those wrinkled old fingers…
Those cannot be MY hands!
Did it really happen? Someone once told me that it would,
but that seems like so long ago, so very long ago, and far away.
I almost hear that distant, echoing voice, warning me of this,
that I would someday wake up and realize that all my days were done.
And now, here I am. My hair is long and gray, thin and brittle.
Who are all those strangers again? At least I have my five thousand
facebook friends. They are still there, of course. Some of them are,
I think. I guess I once knew that some of them had passed.
I guess I knew. I am confused. My head aches.
My mind is not what it was when I was young.
When I was young? Am I no longer young? Truly?
That is not MY face, reflected in the window glass!
The phone has run out of time, somehow, as have I.
I must get it back! It all happened too fast!
My phone was new last week, or last year, or… years ago?
They said I could just keep texting, and typing,
and talking. But where are Mom and Dad,
and little sister, just now?
I remember. It was some preacher, who had said it, or some
old teacher, or other. I’m not sure now. “The devil wants to kill you, to take your life,
to use you up, to waste it all until there is no more to waste.” was what was said.
By the year on the calendar on that far wall, sixty years have passed
since then, and that very thought so sickens me. “That old foe is very tricky, you know;
very seductive in his ways, and very powerful.” the man had said. But this is a new trick…
to use our harmless devices, and the ever-stronger ties with which they bind us
to what we once called the ‘web,’ and, lets see, yes, it was the ‘internet.’ Wasn’t it?
Why were those things ever named web and net, in the first place, really?
Oh, so very crafty… like a spider; in our faces, even with the names of those things.
It was a gentle trap, a fun, convenient snare, to share;
to waste time in, as if to be so caught was, somehow, good.
And now, lest this be a fit of dreaming,
the years have truly passed.
I have missed so many sunsets;
so many real conversations,
and smiles, and hugs.
My time has gone,
and now, the