Today was sunny for a change. Winter had a hold on this place for a long time. Last summer was only four months without a snow storm. This winter has been a creeping grey death since October. I am not a fan. Maybe it’s a sign of my age. Maybe it’s something else.
So today I went outside to walk in the sunshine. I’m tired of hearing about COVID-19. Schools, including mine, threatening shut downs after Spring Break. As if enough communicable diseases don’t get passed during that week normally. Meetings are being cancelled left and right. The WHO is calling it a pandemic now.
Combine that with the layoffs we are facing. It makes me wonder if there will even be a job to come back to if they close up shop at this campus. And if so, why?
So, as I stood outside, feeling the sun on my face, I thought about how things have changed over the years. I’ve been a fixture on this campus for 25 years, as a student then as an employee. I watched the students file past. How many years of that? In a weird way, it feels like the same kids, the only thing that really changes is the clothes they wear. From army boots and sun dresses to hip huggers and crop tops to this new androgynous look with the chunk black-framed glasses. The ubiquitous college guys in their shorts and baseball caps haven’t changed at all in 20 years though. But I do feel a change coming.
I’ve noticed the beginnings of transhumanism here. When I was a student, the most reliance we had on technology was someone who walked around with their walkman earphones on constantly. Now, everyone on the quad was staring into their phones. I see it on the road too, everyone driving like they are dead drunk, and only when you pass them is it revealed in crystal clarity that they are just staring into the screen on their phone. That’s what everyone does who was walking around campus today. Walking, staring at their phone with the intensity of a carnival fortune teller scrying arcade wisdom from a crystal ball.
I think dating apps might be the only thing that allow humans in the First World to continue to breed. And if you think about it, it is all based on an algorithm. Machines are determining who is compatible enough to screw and perpetuate the human race.
Even my own job has taken a hit. A big reason that the workforce of the University is no longer sustainable is because of online classes. Honestly it doesn’t say much about the quality of education either. If you really break it down, who is to say that you even need a professor. Why not just watch a series of YouTube videos and take a test at the end? Well, who would be the gatekeepers then? Who would profit from withholding knowledge?
But the world feels like it is changing. I wonder if this is how people in the early 20th Century felt? Horses began to be replaced with automobiles. The main method of getting around for the last several thousand years vanished overnight. There are many people who have never ridden a horse, much less touched one.
The world changed. And I can’t say really if it was for the better.
An entire century of warfare changed the world and made a more global community than an insular one. Today, we are all freaking out over a virus (which was probably engineered for whatever reason) and somehow wonder how this could be happening when we live in UV-glass protected, hermetically sealed buildings, using touch screens instead of interacting with others to get the job done. Phone trees or customer service, prepackaged food that comes from god-knows-where, and everything is made someplace else, and nobody seems to have a problem with that. Concepts such as gender are now up for debate. The rivers are full of anti-depressants and other chemicals that can’t be filtered out by water treatment. Climate change. The religion of Climate Change. The religion of Social Justice. Coronavirus fears are shutting down travel between states…but borders with other countries are considered racist and oppressive.
Just wait until your employer can quarantine you for being sick, without pay, control where you can go. How you travel.
The world is moving on.
There are days I wish there was a small pocket of the world that was still a place from someone like me. An anachronism, a relic of an expired age. To live in a place that doesn’t encourage everyone to live like a germaphobe. A world where the Media doesn’t control the narrative with fear and controversy and polarization.
A world where people aren’t directed by their bells and whistles of their electronics devices. A place where we aren’t all a bunch of rubes buying whatever snakeoil the hucksters want to sell us.
I see a world of empty streets people used to walk, but they are all safe inside their homes, attached to their electronics. Believing all the horseshit they are fed.