Their timeless, but silent presence taunts her emotions with images of all the things they have witnessed. Children playing, couples sharing secrets and families laughing in their shade while excited dogs run around immersing themselves in all that nature has to offer.
Her tired eyes wander across the landscape in front her. Old age has removed all detail from her vision, leaving a barely recognisable blend of shapes and colours. Her memory flips through the millions of images she has seen in her life as it tries to recall the details, but they are mere snippets.
The realisation that her recollection of nature consists mainly of a bunch of Photoshop images tugs at a lump in her throat. In the background she hears enthusiastic voices muddled together sharing life stories and the events of the day.
Desperate to join in conversation, she looks at her lifeless silent voice resting on her lap. Arthritis has taken away her ability to communicate. The corridors of her mind is empty with life experiences and all that she can find stacked in the corners are piles of text, emoticons and images wrapped up in packets of numb emotion.
The human face has in excess of 40 muscles working together to show how we feel. We can depict just over 20 distinct emotions while capable of over 10 000 expressions. Yet, we have managed to simplify the latter into a bunch of pixels fondly known as emoticons. The term is quite ironic when you think about it.
A con of emotions.
I have seen so many colleagues sitting in the office typing LOL on a group chat, yet their face showed nothing but anticipation of the next message.
Companies are spending billions every year to advance communication with new apps and connectivity. We have reached an age where we can communicate via every known medium from just about every part of the world. We can communicate with just about every person whose details have been trapped in the Googleverse, but are we “communicating” or merely sharing thoughts and information?
Couples are seeking counselling because their relationship has deteriorated into a simple living arrangement of two people sharing a house. Yet, instead of coming home having a conversation, they plunge into cyberspace seeking inspiration to start a conversation, but 4 hours later all they can come up with is: “Good night”.
We no longer need to face the music. Today technology does that for us. When you need to tell someone you are cancelling at the last minute, an SMS would do.
Our children are growing up viewing life through a LCD display, whether it is a TV, computer or phone screen. I think back to 1995 when Netscape and IRC chat infiltrated my life and remember by that time I already had 20 years of real life experience. Today my 8 year old thinks “play time” is a synonym for “iPad Time”.
Take some time to live life. Speak to people and have real conversations. Communicate. Go out into the world and realise that a picture means so much more when you can hear, smell and touch it.
If you choose to spend your life engaging with people through the art of QWERTY, emoticons and Instagram, then maybe one day when your eyes and hands aren’t working so well anymore, you will find yourself alone with just one thought….WTF???
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org