A visit to Humboldt County always grounds me. I can’t shake the feeling that the entire county exists in a parallel universe. A better world nourished with the rich fog of light and mist and the rich hummus of a more ancient world.
Plus, the whole damn county flourishes off-the-grid. Oh, I’m not saying you can’t find internet connection or that young girls don’t snap photos with cell phones or text under the table. But, at least half the people I met didn’t own a computer or a smart phone. Mostly by choice, though economics plays a part in the decision too.
And, those of you who live in Cutten or Lombard Hills, before you stone me, remember I hung out mostly in Old Town and come from a family of beautiful rebels and free thinkers, drunks and healers, loggers and tree-huggers. None of whom are noted for riding future’s cresting wave.
The effects of technology and being constantly, oh-my-god every second, connected to the world did, however, jump up and slap me in the face twice during my trip home.
My mom attended a wedding and returned with tales of the lovely bride and her dress and the lip-smacking food and something called a butt-dance that I seriously do NOT need to know about. Mom also told how during the ceremony the guests snapped pictures with their smart phones. Leaned into the aisles and stood up for better shots. Moved around so as to get that perfect photo to share with the world on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.
Really? People can’t sit quietly and drink in the joining of two people in the biggest fool’s errand ever devised by man without snapping pictures to share on social media? If a couple pledge their love and nobody snaps a picture and posts it on Facebook, is the marriage even valid?
The second time technology reared its beady-eyed, micro-chipped head, was after a day spend with my sister and her two grandsons. My nephews. Jake and Justin. The oldest boy, Jake, has always been a favorite of mine. Yes, I know. Playing favorites is frowned upon. Too bad. I love and adore Justin, but Jake and I click. We GET each other.
So, after a day at Sequoia Park Zoo, my sister and I brought the boys back to their house where Jake immediately disappeared into the computer room. When I ducked into the room to say goodbye, Jake shared with me a piece of music he wrote on the computer.
Did you know a gifted artist like my nephew could compose gorgeous, wonderful music with a computer program? Well, maybe you did. But I sure as heck didn’t know it. And when Jake tried to explain to me how he did it, the world became more and more dark and strange and filled with the breath of young folks who might someday set me afloat on an iceberg.
I arrived back in computer-savy NW Arkansas a few days ago. My husband had bought me a smart phone. Oh good Lord. Propelled into the twenty-first century.
Well, maybe it’s for the best. Perhaps, when the time comes, I can rally the wrinkled forces and stage a coup from the shrinking surface of my blue island.