Calif-A snapshot of US today: Sometimes life is like high school exams. I think this as I blog opposite an investment conscious guy wearing a blue, ‘Chicago Cubs’ tee shirt. He scours the money section, like it’s his manual with an almost religious fervor. I take a break and join the cue that is now fifteen people deep, all waiting inline at the local Starbucks patiently, as if it’s a coffee train station, like we’re all at the high school cafeteria all over again.
These days, as grown ups, it’s okay to wait. A wait in line means a treat. Personal phone time on one’s mobile phone.
We have been socialized to drink coffee every morning from exotic nations like Africa, Guatemala. We feel like we’ve traveled to these nations, when we haven’t every day. In line, we are socialized to happily spend money via internet based phone companies pressing growth areas like ‘smartphone spend’ apps, services, IT systems with major franchised store owners. It is the ‘mobile wallet’ culture that the corporate kids of America, are all for, to transact virtual dollars quicker into their own virtual worth accounts.
Each day we pour phone time into their corporate banks. They sit on top of us, like privileged wasps, drilling down into the honey of the sweet fruit of our labor. We envy their ‘clever’ over our drudgery. The trade-off for their privileged spots is that now they work with government, banking merchants and news agencies to provide our world views, in a boxed screen, like a QR code-reading, single eye, we hold in our hands.
We don’t know yet, if the eye can read us too. But it can map and track our habits. Each one of us is like a social guinea pig. Or lives via our telephones can be read, like a personal tabloid. Transparency in a digital age is the only cultural way forward, if we live in a world, where nothing is secret or unknown about us.
I notice today, that it is rare that anyone talks to each other in the cue as neighbors of community would, standing side-by-side. We don’t care, we have control of the world in our palms as our trade off. Or so we think.
If you’re a little old school, you might want the feel of papyrus newsprint in hand (the invention of Egypt and China), of wood that has been beaten to a pulp, pressed, dried and inked with journalists and politicians or corporate spokes peoples words placed on them in 26 characters of the English alphabet, with a Z being more apparent here in America than many other English speaking nations.
Instead of talking to the person beside us, we reach for a copy of the Wall Street Journal. That always makes us look smart, sorts the men out from the boys, or women out from the trophy girls with bucket loads of salon time, like we know what a buck is – an important American trait, I don’t yet possess – or maybe never will. Today, a circus of orchestrated volatile news occurring in the Middle East, shouts terror, violence – the subliminal subtext leans towards ‘more security measures needed.’ Nations are played out like their own reality TV show. Any attention in a ‘competing’ global economy is better than ‘no press.’ How else will anyone else know you exist and the tourism dollar come your way, or not. Politicians can sacrifice their tourism draw, with other nation’s leaders in secret trade offs. They become villains, to aid nations as not-so-secret-unlikely allies in a super powers race. They take turns being terrorists, in the way or nations they’re politically courting. We live in a reality TV culture, so such narratives are easily read, more and more – as if a big TV spectacle. Even the terrorist’ or ‘religious unrest’ orchestrated ones too.
The gratification of the terror-lines is that it makes you feel incredibly thankful we’re standing in the land of the military-protected, brave and the free of the US.
Like, where else would you want to be in the world right now, except somewhere incredibly protected from all that stuff out there? Doh! That’s a no brainer. Especially if you have a family on your mind. Again, we are encouraged to remain safe, and not travel. We’re in the best place.
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