I am a Gen-Xer. My generation ushered in the internet age. We were among the last kids to experience music on cassette tapes, movies on VHS tapes, transitioning to Napster and MP3 players and DVDs (and now streaming music and movies). We are the bridge between the analog and digital generations, having lived in both. Sometimes we are nostalgic for the texture of analog life, but can’t live without the digital luxuries of the New, New World.
I am zipping home in an Uber car. Opened the app on my Samsung mobile, selected Uber pool (50% cheaper and at this hour I am likely to still get a car to myself); my commute home is less stressful. I avoid the subway commuter nightmare known as rush hour. It is an affordable luxury. No longer do I have to challenge others to hail a yellow cab on the street, walking a block north or south to position myself better. No longer do I have to plead with a driver to take me to an outer borough (where they likely won’t get a return fare to Manhattan). Technology allows me some down time, provided my driver doesn’t smell.
My world has changed. The way I interact with people has changed. It is seemingly less personal. My personal chats – – even with my kids and friends – – are typically done via mobile texts. At work, it is email. I should hate it, but I actually like it. Most of the time. As I have gotten older I have become less tolerant of physical company or of speaking to people by phone. It is a reason why I go weeks without talking to my parents. They don’t use email or text. My preferred channels of communication are foreign to them. And I don’t have the patience to be the IT Guy all the time.
God, the streets are filthy. A little snow and the whole city turns into a black, slushy mess. No app for that.