Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why So Anti-Social?


Okay, so it was time to renew my license, right? It expired shortly after my knee surgery and I haven't been mobile enough to get downtown to take care of it. Well, today, The Mrs. chauffeured me down to what I expected to be a horrible experience. Well, let's just say that I left from there disappointed at the DMV. What I expected to be a horrible experience that would lead to a blog post rant wound up being the most pleasant experience I've ever had there.

Why was my experience so nice? Because for just an additional $4.50 on top of my renewal fee, I could use an automatic kiosk and renew my license within minutes rather than waiting in line forever. When I arrived to the DMV, I pulled a number: 38. As I walked (hobbled on crutches) into the room, what number do they call out? 7. So, more than likely, I'd still be waiting on them to call me had I gone the traditional route. Instead, I did the kiosk. Inserted my old license, verified my address, took the photo and paid with a credit card. Seven minutes, tops! Priceless!

So, I started thinking to myself, "Self, did I enjoy this experience simply because it was fast or did I enjoy it because I didn't have to speak with anyone?"

Let's be real. Some of us want to avoid human interaction as much as possible. Now, I'm not like that because I love to talk. In fact, today, I started a conversation about my knee with a cashier at Office Depot and told her I injured myself being a stunt double for Will Smith. For some reason, she didn't believe me. I tried to convince her that the camera adds weight and shrinks height. However, I made her laugh and probably brightened her day. She'll probably remember me if I come back soon, too.

Anyhoo, the reason I chose the kiosk at the DMV was so that I could get out of the DMV before my beard grew back. I wanted speed. I didn't want to avoid human contact. But, think of how a lot of people love ATM's, self-check outs at the grocery store, shopping online, etc. Anything that keeps us from actually dealing with a person. I'm sure if we could go to a fast food restaurant without talking to a live person, we would jump at the opportunity.

Why so anti-social? The nation that did things based on eye contact and a hearty hand shake has turned into a country that communicates in 140 words or less and a text message. We're already seeing the affects of the change, too. Young people don't even know how to interview for a job because they lack the social skills to carry out a meaningful conversation. Sitting across the table from a live person is probably the equivalent of them seeing Freddy Krueger in a dream.

"So, tell me about your last job!"
How do we get it back? How do we stop a society that allows kids to sit in front of the television or gaming console without talking? Teens sitting at the dinner table with iPod earbuds in their ears. Young people texting other young people who are sitting at the same table (I've seen it happen multiple times).

At what point do we talk to one another? Or is that considered "old-fashioned" now?




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6 comments:

  1. Quincy, I hope your recovery from knee surgery goes smoothly and you're back on the set with Will ASAP...

    And you're dead on the money about the lack of human contact we now experience in this new "connected" world of ours. My kids prefer texting to talking, and most folks would prefer solitary confinement to being required to actually interact with others. We've gotten so self-involved that we get genuinely annoyed when a waitress comes back to our table to see if everything's okay with the meal.

    I believe we use our hand-held devices as an excuse to ignore one another, to the point where we're isolated beyond anything experienced by previous generations. We get out of our cars, plug in our earpieces, tune out the world until we're safely back in our little isolation chambers.

    As long as the electronics work, we don't need another person on the planet.

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  2. @ Squatlo - I heard Will is going with someone else and can't wait on my recovery.

    I know a guy who gets mad at his servers at restaurants. He watches Netflix on his lunch break and when they come back to check on him, he gets pissed he has to pause. I don't even know why he asks me to go to lunch with him.

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  3. Being anti-social at a DMV shouldn't count. In California, the DMV's were always filled with assholes and idiots, so I would use the kiosk too.

    What blew my mind is a similar kiosk in a fast food joint. I went into a Jack in the Box in Western Idaho, and there was a touchscreen menu so you didn't have to deal with a cashier... I was shocked...

    ReplyDelete
  4. @ LiI - So, they do have fast food restaurants that don't require interaction with a human other than delivering the food? Aw, man, I had no idea. And I thought the restaurant I saw on TV once that allowed you to order food with iPads was crazy.

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  5. I've actually sat down next to my sister and had a message via text when we were in the car with our parents and wanted to communicate in private. But I think you're right, something needs to change. Kids these days can't even think beyond 140 character ideas anymore, it's sad.

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  6. @ Tsaritsa - It shows in so many ways. I've seen some of the dumbest tweets and status updates because people are trying to convey a thought in as few words as possible. The end result is a senseless statement that only makes sense to the person who typed it. A decade from now, we're going to have an increase of dumb people over the age of 25.

    ReplyDelete

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