Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Invisible Man, But To A 2 Year Old 500 Miles Away

Posted September 9, 2009 by jim young in Media

– Kory French

Get up. Get up and walk the streets of New York.

Smell the odors that mingle in the air; they dance together as if no longer shy from the opening number. Watch the faces that don’t watch you. Stare at the concrete canvas beneath your feet as you trample over its grey hue; cigarette buts and decade-old gum turned black with soot, food wrappers collected in the corners of the curb as if unsure in which direction to travel, subway tickets who have been tossed away, used for the quick ride and now disregarded like the whore who keeps company on Tenth Avenue. Look in the human mirror of the people who travel around you — who don’t look back, who have a place to get to, who have their own music to block you out with, who ignore the sirens as they march south, who fail to notice the sleeping man in the doorway, who are unsure if the sun has risen, who weave around the newly arrived tourist staring at the real-estate in the air, who cup their mouth to be understood by the listener on the other line, who hold the receiver tight to their ear to learn their rendez-vous point, who dash into the ground grabbing the day’s Metro, who stand confident on the corner with one hand waiving free and determinant, who enter buildings with a sense of arrival, who ignore traffic lights for obvious pedestrian right of way. This is a people’s city. Its habitants are its machines, shoes are its automobiles, the pace of the sidewalk is the speed of the road and the sounds of engines are drowned with the sounds of voices, shouting, street-music, cell phones, sidewalk-sales, neighbor interaction.

Rise. Rise with the grey sky. Become part of the marching band below your bed. You have slept high above the bowels of the New York machine. Become the coal in the furnace and the oil who is rubbed into the gears. Become the cork in the track and the tarmac on the speedway of urbanity. Rise to the singing of the subway cars, the tune of the taxi horn, the melody of the construction site, the harmony of the foreign languages shouted across the sidewalk glares. Breath in the polluted sound, the allure of capitalism, the odor of green, the sweat of immigrant travail, the blood of despaired dreams, the beauty of crime and the ugliness of stranger aid. Inhale your sidewalk neighbor’s avoided stare, mesmerize yourself with the cigarette smoke vanishing in the avenue tunneled wind.

This morning I had breakfast with my nephew, facing each other, laughing together and sharing Cheerios.
Now some of you may think; “What is so newsworthy about that?” The answer I have for you is that I was sitting in my apartment on Ninth Avenue in New York City and he was sitting at his dining room table on Cumberland St. in Barrie, ON. On top of that, he is 2 years old. Furthermore, neither of us paid a cent for the food or the time spent on air together.
Technologically is an amazing thing. Don’t fear it, embrace it. Learn about it. Ask questions and ignore the people who warn you about its possible viruses, ill-fates, downsides, or scams. Imagine how silly people would appear to be if you could travel back in time to the invention of the telephone and try to convince the world to obtain one of these new devices so they could communicate with one another much easier and more often and their reaction to you was “I heard it was dangerous, etc…”
I tried to imaging what it will be like for Jack to explain to his grandchildren 70 years from now, how he remembers (which I am sure he will not) the first time he ever video-phoned with his uncle in New York. How the feed was, the connection, the sound and the clarity, and where our communication tactics will be at the time of this future-reminiscence.
I remember visiting Disney World in Florida with my family when I was about 7 years old. And I remember going into “The World of Tomorrow” exhibition part of the park. And I remember watching the modeled robots talk on the phone into a white canvas screen with one another. And I remember debating with my father whether or not that was “real”; in other words, was that ever going to happen. And I can remember the two of us coming to the conclusion that it probably would, but maybe not in a time that I would live to see.
Today, my sister called me via skype (this is a free software program that anyone can download from the internet. And to reiterate, yes, it is 100% FREE. It is used like MSN Messenger, and if you have a video monitor built into your computer, or a Web cam, and access to a microphone — the new laptops come with built in microphones — you can use this software just like a phone and call other skype users for free) and we had a little chat. For a few minutes, Kelly left the room to get Kate, and left the video and monitor facing Jack. The two of us just sat there and had some laughs, he showed me his new frog, he tried to share his Cheerios with me and even blew me a kiss at the end. His mom was not in the room and our conversation came natural to him, which is the subtlety that I especially enjoyed. To this 2 year old boy, this communication was completely normal, almost expected. His mind is too absorbent to question why would we not be able to talk with each other, via video, from New York to Barrie. And all of this on his own, his mother wasn’t even in the room to teach him.
Two things amaze me about this, the adaptation and expectation of a 2 year old’s mind, and the pace of which our technology has moved within the last five, call it ten, years. If only we could all learn to think like Jack did this morning, and perceive the world fearlessly, with expectation, and without awe. And espouse the exponential gifts education and technology are awarding humankind with.

One Comment


    First of all I have problem with the suggestion that this is “100% FREE”.

    This may sound like nit-picking, but it’s a little pet peeve of mine. Very few things today that are advertised as FREE are, in fact, free at all.

    “Included in the price of…” is a more precise description.

    It’s not my fault really. I remember once as a very young boy, suggesting to my father that we were lucky because our water was free (we had a well as opposed to being connected to city water).

    And thus began one of my father’s famous lectures about how “someone” (which usually meant him) had to pay to have the well dug and a pump installed, as well as the cost of the hydro to run the pump.

    So unless someone has given you your computer and is paying for the hydro to run it as well as you montly internet service – it’s not really Free, is it?

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