There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy

Time gets pushed to the corner and online commerce swoops in for button-pushing holiday shopping. I’ve done it, because I don’t have time and I get stressed out about missing deadlines, so I enter my credit card and walk away.

My sister-in-law is a stay-at-home mom, who relishes in gift-giving. This year for my birthday, I got a package with a scarecrow sticker on it saying Happy Fall, a handmade card, and a shirt wrapped in tissue paper. The gift itself was modest, but the handling of it delivered a lot more, beyond monetary value. It moved me, as gifts should.

Dawn and I tried Christmas shopping Saturday morning, downtown. I remarked that online shopping is really taking a bite out of traditional retail more and more each year, and as I said that I realized I’d rather be home shopping online than waiting at traffic lights, avoiding pan-handlers, riding escalators, carrying bags.

We know it to be true, but the combination of convenience and capitalism comes with a cost, with a loss that’s hard to replace, and becomes a new cultural norm.

It’s what makes it OK for the kids in line in front of us at Starbucks to have their phones out making faces into the camera, projecting themselves elsewhere, and not see anything unusual about it. They’re there and they’re not there at the same time because they feel the need to be somewhere else, because they can. And so they’re nowhere.

Technology swoops in to take the mess and time out of gestures made by people, and the irony is that the convenience replaces the personal touch and intimacy we crave, for real connections.

Which is why it meant a lot to me that a blogger friend sent a CD by snail mail and wrote a personal note with it; he became real in that moment more than an email, more than a scattering of HTML. His CD in my car is a personification of him, as the coffee mug in my kitchen cabinet from another blogger friend, because they are tangible objects. (Perhaps I should get into voodoo, and start making dolls.)

For me, the fear is that we’ll become less real as we outsource more of our expression through technology. Or, we’ll just grow into it the way tree roots grow around their landscape, become inseparable with it, unclear where one ends and the other begins.

 

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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16 Responses to There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy

  1. rossmurray1 says:

    Keeping it real since 1965.

    Like

  2. alesiablogs says:

    “For me, the fear is that we’ll become less real as we outsource more of our expression through technology.”

    That is scary to think about. What I do and do not like about technology is that I can keep up with friends easily by just a click to for example to your blog. Yet I would think meeting with my friends in real time is really the only way to capture the true essence of friendship. I do appreciate the computer. Do not take this in the wrong way as I love to express myself, but when I am with a friend having lunch that memory is made and it assists me in keeping that relationship alive until I see them yet once again in the physical realm.

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    • pinklightsabre says:

      Yes, agreed…here I am with my phone tip tapping my response 😉

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      • alesiablogs says:

        yeah. you inspired my brief blog this am ..haha I am wondering if anyone will read it..We are so engrossed and meshed with our technology that at times–we forget to look up at the world around us. I am glad you remind me to do that with your post.

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      • pinklightsabre says:

        Always nice to hear from you and to read your posts! I like the one with the haircut photos

        Like

  3. ksbeth says:

    well said, and i handmade collage gifts and cards for people whenever possible, use pictures to make my holiday card and love the wrapping and ink as much as the gift sometimes. i am a gifter by nature and the more personal it is, the more it is a sharing of myself with the other.

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  4. Alesia has been to my house and you haven’t, so please send me a doll as a way to connect with you. The doll should be holding a coffee cup, please.

    Like

  5. No, good boys and girls do not do that at Christmastime.

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  6. frizztext says:

    for you – and your step-dad John Pearse (R.I.P.):

    Like

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