OK, OK, it’s hardly news to say we live in an age of change. Because saying that is something like saying the Earth goes around the sun, the Cubs will lose next season, Mike Ditka will still be getting paid to talk about whatever he wants to talk about.
Instead, this is to say that in our lifetime, change itself has changed. It is no longer a simple, linear one-thing-after-another affair. With today’s unstoppable bilge of new widgets and wonders, we’re caught up in an exponential everything-all-at-once affair.
Take for instance these two very opposing changes going on right now in your life and mine: (1) the ways we continue to cocoon ourselves from the world (2) the ways we continue to expose ourselves to the world. One has to do with our Smartphones; the second with our Christmas decorations.
Who cares, you say? Look, when you’re the last generation who will be retiring before seventy, you have enough time on your hands to care about such matters. Here, let me explain:
(1) Given the quantity and quality of today’s apps-loaded, handheld technologies, cocooning has become easier than at any time since the cave. We needn’t leave our homes to check the neighborhood, the world, the weather, the job or even the family wherever they may be. In my own block there are people who moved in years ago that no one has ever seen. [To clarify, I’m one of them]
(2) And yet at the very same time, there is this all-American holiday habit of exposing our true selves every December with gorges of lawn decorations. Without ever seeing who put them up, you can tell a lot about these cocooners. Sprawling multi-color light displays suggest a person who needs the world to take him/her seriously…dainty, small-white-lights decorations suggest a person with delicate even defensive habits…no decorations seem to be telling the world either I don’t believe in this humbug or I’m just too damn old to care anymore
Next time you leave your cocoon, you might try playing therapist as you look upon your fellow cocooners’ front lawn displays. Those saints, Santas and sizzles you see are telling you something…
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