My husband and I went to see a movie Friday night with a gift card someone gave us. It's been a long time since I went to a movie (I think the last one I saw was the final Harry Potter), and I was looking forward to the whole ritual. Stand in line, chat with the ticket seller, get your oversized bag of sugar, find your seats, and watch half an hour of previews before the movie starts. That tingling thrill of anticipation when the lights go down.
The world has changed while I wasn't looking.
First of all, you don't have a line in front of a ticket seller. You purchase your tickets at a little automated kiosk (and I didn't have my reading glasses with me. I wasn't planning on having to read...) The oversized bag of sugar cost the same amount as the ticket, and frankly, I hardly recognized any of the candy on offer. Where are the Milk Duds? Oh well, I settled for neon-coloured Skittles. The same seats, the same sticky floor...but then...there were no previews.
This was weird. How am I supposed to know what movies are coming out so I know what to look forward to? Instead of previews, or the dancing bag of popcorn asking you to dispose of your garbage responsibly, there was half an hour of "Whip out your phone and play these games and we'll tell the whole audience how you scored."
And people were doing it. They were frantically swiping at their phones, shooting soccer balls at virtual nets and answering trivia questions, and their results were announced on screen.
My husband and I, who don't have Smart phones or iPhones, looked at each other with the same thought running through our brains: We are dinosaurs. At some point we will no longer be able to participate in society. At some point we will no longer be able to print out plane tickets or watch a movie or talk to a live bank teller. Without the proper technology, we won't be able to access our bank accounts, track our kids' immunizations, buy food, read advertisements, read books, see our kids' grades, send letters to our families, or start our cars. It's all going to be done by some little handheld device. And if we don't run out and get that device and keep up with the advancement of technology, we will be left in the dust with the Brontosaurus and 8 mm film.
And I think that's okay with me. If advertisers can't reach me, that's all right. If I can't communicate with the rest of society, so be it. It will be time to retire to my cottage and grow my own vegetables and spend my last years re-reading my paperbacks by flickering candlelight. I refuse to join in. I refuse to rush out and buy whatever technology "they" tell me I have to buy just because someone has decided I need to. I don't want to evolve any further than I have already, thank you very much. The Amish said the same thing over a century ago, and because they have a close community, they can pull it off. Advertisers don't target them. They don't fret over Facebook posts or Tweet their every thought to the universe. They have chosen what kind of simple lives they want to live and they are quietly going about doing it. I think they're on to something.