Yes, those good old rave days, where you'd apply blue eyeliner to me - "Hold still, Cher" - and I'd blink anyway, and then we'd talk about the big puffy down vest we'd be wearing over tube tops. But that was the era of so much more.
That was the era of connecting. That was the era of people engaging with people, of conversation, of phone numbers written on wrists, on long walks around the East Village over bad cups of tea and coffee, of shopping for lacy vinyl clothes we couldn't afford that we bought anyway, of meeting guys every time we hopped on the train, because, hey, life was about making connections.
Now, everyone is shut off. It makes me sick. On the train, everyone is plugged into their iPod, their mp3 device, blasting music that I wonder if it will cause more damage to their eardrums than dancing on top of the speakers to Scott Henry's infamous June 5th set years ago on the Baltimore Waterfront. No one talks to each other on the train, unless it's to curse you out for accidentally stepping on someone's foot. Do people loathe reality so they must distract themselves? Or is life just so much more pleasant when you're not in the present moment? Or...?
You go to a bar and in line for the bathroom, where I actually met friends in the past ("Hey everyone, this is Jessie, we just talked in the bathroom line for the past twenty minutes and she also was at that Superchunk show at Lollapalooza back in the nineties too!") - and everyone's on their smart phone, looking at Facebook, obsessing over whatever. I don't get it. Why can't you be in the present moment? I assure you, it's bound to be more interesting than what others are posting on Facebook. Or people who are checking their phones while they sleep, or during sex.
I'm not a Luddite - I have a smart phone, a Kindle, a netbook, a laptop, and a work computer. Sometimes I'm using most of those at the same time. But a lot of the times, I just prefer to be writing a letter to my girl V, reading one of my Moosewood cookbooks in between dicing peppers, curled up in bed with my kitty and an Anais Nin diary, drinking tea with a friend, writing a story, running in the woods, jumping off a dock, walking along the edge of the ocean with feet partially wet/very sandy.
And to me, those are the things that life is really about. Maybe Facebook and Twitter and all these things are a way of sharing that - but shouldn't we be in that very moment first?
Live in the present moment. Stop distracting yourself.