What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Ah, the vacation. I remember when I was a kid (pre-teens), we would go to Va Beach and rent a “cottage”. It was usually an old, weather worn structure with wooded (sandy) floors and no air conditioning. Other families would join us making for a week long party. Every day, the Moms would packed lunches while the Dads packed Styrofoam coolers with sodas and beer (Falstaff or Schiltz as I recall), and you and the other families would spend the whole day at the beach. If you needed to make a phone call, you walked or drove to the nearest Bell System phone booth. You might get a newpaper, but that was not likely and you didn’t watch much television because the closest station was 40 miles away.

Instead, you played games, listened to music, had conversations. It was a big party. The adults had amazing staying power. They could be on the beach all day long and then party until 3am, much to the annoyance of the kids who wanted to sleep (or wanted to be part of the action). It was extremely “Social”.

I’m at the beach this week with another family. We have been doing the beach thing together for 20 years and we do our share of social activities. We do come up for lunch everyday because we love air conditioning. Yesterday, as I was finishing my lunch (and Twittering), I looked up to see four other people at the table with me. Each was on their own computer.

Five people sitting around a table having lunch at the beach should be talking with each other, but instead, they are all in their own digital worlds. I’m more guilty that ever this year as I take the iPhone to the beach everyday to Twitter, read blogs, etc. It used to be that I went to the beach and read a good book. Now, I go to the beach and read good feeds.

That lunch table image and my own realization of being too plugged struck me as both funny and sad. We have become so accustomed (addicted) to our hyperconnectivity and our digital networks that we can’t take a vacation from them.

I think I’ll head back to the beach with the boogie board instead of the iPhone.


2 comments so far

  1. bamboosero on

    This is weird, but I can’t remember what life was like before PCs and lappys, never mind cellphones and iPods. And I’m no spring chicken. When I was in college, calculators were the the size of a trimline telephone (like what you would hang on the kitchen wall if you still have a land line), and everyone played “Star Trek” (as in “Classic Trek”) on typewriter-sized computer terminals with no monitors… You had to type in your coordinates to blast asteroids and Klingon warships, and the results were printed out on a dot matrix printer.

    So yeah, I grew up in the age of analogue, and STILL the above photo scene looks completely normal to me. Heh.

  2. Matt Dickman on

    Doug — I know what’s wrong! Your ketchup bottle is upside down. Seriously though, this looks completely normal to me.

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