Monday, July 2, 2012

How technology has made me a wimp.

So I've recently become absolutely obsessed with The L Word. Like, watched the pilot Thursday after work, started watching the second episode late Friday night, and finished the entire first season over the course of the weekend obsessed. And I've found myself doing something that I often do in dramatic moments of television shows or movies that I'm watching online--I pause them because I don't want to deal with the stress/tension of the moment yet. Be it (rampant spoilers alert) House cutting at his own leg or Bette making her affair reality instead of fantasy or Jessica learning Mike Ross's secret, as soon as I see it coming, I click anywhere on the playing video to pause it and go check Facebook or read some things in my Google Reader or come write something here. 

It's like, the opposite of instant gratification, which is the thing everyone always talks about coming from our technological culture. Yes, we can download things in seconds wirelessly and yes, there are at any point in time 7 or more ways for me to get a message to my best friend in New York City instantly. Our entire lives are on demand. But there's another side of on demand: instant gratification on the one hand and...delayed stress on the other. 

Ten years ago, if I decided that I couldn't handle what was happening on my show, I would have had to wait for the rerun to find out what I'd missed. When I had a landline phone without caller ID, there was no screening calls to avoid people I didn't want to talk to--if I picked up the phone, there the person was, and I had to deal with it. Once upon a time, I talked to people face to face and didn't have time to make sure everything came out exactly the way I wanted it to, like I can in texting or chatting--one time the word chat was inherently linked to speech, rather than to the movement of fingers on plastic. 

It's like, we as a culture want everything right now, right this very instant, except when we don't, in which case we want to know that it's coming and be able to stop or postpone it. We have undo buttons on emails. It's mad. It's simultaneously awesome and really sad. When did life stop being live-action? When did we have to start pressing play?  

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