The Chains That Bind…

New products out there these days.  Fitbits, Up, Fuel etc. Seems like the ol’ pedometer has gone the way of the phone booth, relegated to movie studio lots and estate sales.  Alas, we are now counting everything- calories, steps, hours of sleep, energy expenditure.  Remember when it was just the money in your wallet, and sheep?

Truth is, I’m not sure I’m okay with all of this new technology.  I think back to those summer nights when I could step outside and go for a walk, without some goal draped around my arm, constantly beckoning to me that I’m just a thousand steps short of my goal for the day, that failure would feel miserable, that the community which I’m now connected to is Tweeting or Facebooking their support, and that if I can just find a way to push myself past the fucking yogurt shop and around the corner one more time, perhaps I can look myself in tomorrow’s mirror and not feel the pangs of guilt associated with disappointment.  I remember days I could look down at my food and take a bite and enjoy it without having to snap a photo of the barcode first, and then wait the twelve seconds to make certain I hadn’t broken some RDA for sugar or calories or saturated something.

A few years back, conspiracy theorists shouted warnings of the government- implanted RFID chip, claiming Big Brother would know everything about our daily lives.  Today we purchase electronic products, place them around our wrists, and shoot off all sorts of personal data into the cyber-sphere.  It’s hard to imagine some balding and spectacled little fella, tilted over his MAC, and hacking away at his keyboard as he inputs my nightly run.  If the Defense Department or Nike or even the women on some EHarmony-type site truly care about my monthly mileage, have at it.  If I want your career, or shoes, or a hug, I’ll simply ask for it without you having to send some subliminal message to convince me I need you.

I guess my point is that it’s not about threats to my privacy.  It’s more about the simplicity of life that seems to disappear with every gadget of convenience.  Prior to the printing press, we’d sit around campfires and tell stories.  Afore the Sony Walkman, we used to sing.  Long before cell phones and Wikipedia, we’d remember things like phone numbers and facts.  Our brains worked on a regular basis, storing data and regurgitating it when necessary.  Today though, we just look down, at these things on our wrists, which tell us how we are doing in life, and whether or not we are succeeding compared to our peers and ourselves.  Was it the poet who talked about the chains that bind?

I’m just rambling now, wondering whether someone will eventually tie something around my tongue to count my words.  Maybe then I’ll have to worry about them being worthy too.

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By ccxander

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