The day my new French door refrigerator arrived, I immediately called my husband at work.
He chuckled, expressed his best wishes for my happiness and said he had work to do.
At the time my stupid little remark didn’t have much merit, but the other day I saw the new Spike Jonze movie “Her,” a story about a man who falls in love with and dates his new operating system. By dates I mean Sunday strolls, outings with other couples and intimacy. Yup, there’s even a sex scene.
Watching a grown man doing all of the above with a device resembling a smartphone left me concerned. Mainly because the world we currently live in provides a perfect foundation for the technology-exaggerated world portrayed in this film. A prime example is the way tied to our cell phones, the gadget almost as necessary for our survival as a vital organ. If it gets lost, aren’t we’re one step away from putting a photo on the back of a milk carton?
You probably don’t have to think to hard to imagine this scene: A family of four goes out to a restaurant. Mom, Dad and their two teenage children sit at the same table, their shoulders hunched like a praying mantis family while each one is focused on their phones. In my own home, this same scenario is played out while we gather together to watch television after dinner. Questions directed to each other are often met with a grunt or a confused “What? Did you say something to me?” because we’re submerged in reading Tumbler posts or Candy Crush (guilty as charged).
As a writer, my daily life revolves around an empty house; my only companions are two dogs and my computer. My virtual world allows me to travel the globe, network or talk shop with other writers, agents and publishers. I visit friends in Australia, Scotland, England, Ghana, nearly half of the fifty states and God only knows where else. While I’ve never met these people, they “feel” like friends, no less than the other people I know in the flesh. All thanks to the world wide web.
The messages in the Spike Jonze film seem multi-layered, although I wonder if he simply wanted to show us how it is possible to take technology a step too far. Maybe several steps to far. In a way, it made me long for the simplicity we had in our lives before technology took over, although I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t love the power I have at my fingertips.
In case you’re wondering, I’m still married to my husband. The thrill of the refrigerator has worn off. I mean, he’s a nice fridge, but lacking in any real substance.
Do you have a hybrid existence, where one foot is planted in the real world and the other in a virtual world?