Monday, September 13, 2010

The Jetsons are coming....?

Remember THE JETSONS? For those of you who don't, it was a space age cartoon some of us watched as kids, a show where a family lived in a kind of space needle home and putted around the sky in an air-car with their dog* to the store and the hair salon, etc. We all thought it was NUTS, "this could never happen!" They flew around from time to time, but they could do everything from home. They even had a robot maid. Obviously, we don't FLY around literally, like they did, but we might as well be flying, in a sense, as we stay in our cars and go from place to place.

So, living and flying around in insulated sorts of 'bubbles', never really making contact with other people in their own insulated bubbles....is that a good thing?

A fellow who attends my church
is in a wheel chair but has fair use of his arms, thankfully. I see him on the streets more frequently than I'd have expected because I just don't see many people I know tooling around town. I'll turn into a restaurant parking lot and see Sam scooting across the driveway and I'll stop and put my window down and we'll chat. I'll see him while driving down the street and honk and wave and Sam throws me a huge smile and waves back. I love seeing Sam because I like him and because it feels good to see a friend when I least expect it, and I got to thinking how kind of 'cozy' that is, how very 'Mayberry-esque', to use another television show analogy!

I got to thinking that it's our
CARS which prevent us from seeing more friends around town, even in a city as big as the one I'm usually driving around in; Santa Monica, California.
Everyone's in cars and, yes, occasionally you'll see someone you know and you'll both wave but that's really rare when everyone's got his eyes on the road.
A few years ago, I parked and put money in a meter and had a doctor's appointment which took a much longer time than I'd expected. I worried that my time on the meter was over and I'd get a $50 ticket. When I got outside, I saw my car had plenty of money in the meter and I was really surprised and ........ curious! The next Sunday, at church, a friend said "Hey, Z, lucky you didn't get a ticket the other day in front of the St John's Medical Building, huh?" Yes, this friend walks everywhere and did that for me......my Meter Angel! That's hard to do when you drive by.

When we're not in our cars, we relate with people.......we help, we talk and feel a sense of community that's so rare anymore. And the internet is an enigma in that some of us spend waaaaay too much time on it and relate less with our family and friends on the phone, for example. Or we stay home more than we might because we're enjoying blogging, etc. We don't go to the stores as much because we buy on-line, right? How many people go to the library anymore just to look something up? But, in the place of our REAL FRIENDS in 'real life', we have a whole circle of amazing people on the blogs who share our values, which is evidenced as we read their blogs or their comments at ours, and I wonder about that........that's a good thing, but is it the best thing?
Should we shut the computer more often and get outside in order to avoid becoming THE JETSONS? Is it better to get out, walk to the store, shop instead of buy on-line, eat out instead of bringing in take-out? Is Mayberry better than the Jetsons? What do you think? Can we turn back the tide?
Quiz: What was the name of the Jetsons' dog? :-) I know, it's easy but I like little TV quizzes, humor me!

Z

25 comments:

Joe Conservative said...

R-r-r-A-s-t-r-o!

Jen said...

Aaarg!

He got it. :-)

Such a great post, Z.

As I sit here typing on my computer, I see the sun casting shadows from my favorite sycamore tree outisde and think about how good it would feel to sit out there and read. :-)

YES! We should turn these 'puters off more often and visit with neighbors...or just be quiet.

But, I think a LOT about the mystery of blogging, and how it has pulled many isolated people back into a sense of belonging. That's a good thing, but my next step was to re-create that off-line. It's a work-in-progress.

Anyway...I'm gonna go read under my favorite tree before it gets too hot out there.

I SWEAR! :-)

FrogBurger said...

When we're not in our cars, we relate with people.......we help, we talk and feel a sense of community that's so rare anymore.

Sooooo true. Since I've moved to CA from DC, I have lost that sense. In DC, like in Europe, I would walk, take the bus, the metro and really felt good. In CA I feel like I belong nowhere. It's a little better where I am right now b/c we walk more to places but there's no neighborhood feel because of large avenues.

That's why I've been missing the East Coast these past days. Especially Virginia.

sue said...

Z - Of everything you said in your post - all of which I agree with - the thing that struck me the most is the phrase 'turning back the tide.' That can apply to so many things. And it is a good question - can we turn back the tide.

I guess the answer is: we can if we want to badly enough. But in today's society, there are so many things that need turning back. We have gone too far. It's just up to the people and how much we care.

Sam Huntington said...

An excellent post! Yes, we do need to get back to the basics. Does anyone remember church picnics, going to the county fair, summer concerts at the town park, and block parties?

I wonder if Cosmo Spacely was one of those dastardly capitalists we always hear about.

Z said...

Jen, I hope you're under that tree now enjoying your book!!

Joe WON!

FB, isn't that the point...exactly! When you walk, you see more than otherwise, you feel a part of the community...

sue, so true...so many things we need to turn back ...People always relate to community, to feeling a part of something, to feel appreciated by neighbors, etc etc..It's something that's part of human nature, I think.

Sam, THANKS! We actually have block parties around HERE in LA, believe it or not. And, I know that there are still socials and concerts in the park, but not as much, I suppose? And weren't they so sweet? I think our society's pushed us out of that but that we CAN work to get it back.
Except our kids are so cynical because of so many things...they're not given hope anymore, they have no heroes, they are plugged into their video games and computers and twitter and texting and ...that's communicating but it sure isn't the same as those beautiful days of a pick-up basketball game in the park, is it.

Joe Conservative said...

Go back? Who would want to go back to walking or riding horses? Who would want to give up their cell phones and Blackberries?

We aren't living in insulated bubbles... we are more connected to others today than we've ever been in the past. But the very best part is, we can unplug whenever we want. We are NOT Borg!

Hey, at least we have the OPTION of living like those in the past once lived if we choose to. All one needs to do is construct healthful habits to take advantage of all this wonderful technology.

We're living longer. And those with good living habits and nondestructive lifestyles are living healthier. Back in the thirties, you either walked or you didn't go at all. Today, you can always choose to drive, or if you're really feeling frisky, run.

Z said...

Joe, I think we're more connected to the outside world than we are our own world sometimes.....I think we've forgotten to call, to pen a note to someone..email and Blackberries have solved all of that.
Yes, we CAN do that, and I try to, but....
I think all this quick communication just makes us BUSIER ...

Joe Conservative said...

Nobodies forcing you to use the technology, Z. You don't HAVE to have 100 internet friends. But if having them allows YOU to feel more connected and empowered, then I can't see anything wrong with that. Your 1930's counterpart would kill for your connectvity.

Joe Conservative said...

By all means, get out the scented stationery and write a long letter to a dear old friend. Nothing's stopping you.

Better yet, write the same letter and e-mail it to thirty friends, n'est-ce pas?

Joe Conservative said...

In other words, back then, there was a LOT of underutilized capacity being kept off the market. Today's woman does 100x the socializing her 1930's counterpart ever did.

As Tennessee Williams once said, "Time is the longest distance between two places."

Those two places today are MUCH closer together. ;-)

Joe Conservative said...

btw - Did I mention that yours is one of the more fashionable salons west of Paris? Coming here always puts a smile on my face. ;-)

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I think "outside" and "communicative" is relative. And I think it's relative to the size of the community in which one lives.

If it were up to Leftists, they'd JAM everyone into stacked-up high rises with very little horizontal footprint. Time and again, that plan has been proven to be a LOSER. Just check out, for example, all the PROJECTS in the larger cities and why, for example, Chicago has essentially done away with and razed CG. You'll note that, also, the higher the density the greater the likelihood of the area, city, etc being run and/or managed by Leftists.

I live in a small town. I know most everyone. I leave my keys in my car when I get my mail and go to the store. Sometimes I leave it running if I think a train is coming, that I want to photograph. We SHOOT car thieves in my area -- they're like horse thieves -- and we take care of ourselves. Some people recently damaged the community center and stole some small items. Those responsible found themselves missing some teeth the next week. End of statement.

The GREATER the density, the WORSE the living conditions and the greater the CONTROL that Leftist government DEMANDS from its inhabitants. Bit by bit, day by day, year by year, those city governments want MORE from you in terms of your freedoms and your cash -- but only if you're a taxpaying drone.

I like my car. I use it to LEAVE Sacramento at the end of my work week.

Any more, I'm starting to realize that I care less and less each year about "turning back the tide." I've got MINE, my house is PAID as are my cars, and I'm about to retire. I've got food and good 2nd Amendment tools and the two precious metals. I'll still fight, but there is less fight available in me each year. I'm not convinced America will come around. I still think there is still a LARGE revolution coming and it won't be pretty and it won't be kind. And it will FURTHER hurt America.

BZ

Bloviating Zeppelin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi Z,

I think it's a mixed bag. It's true we don't walk down the street to the local market. But, wait, we don't have a Mom and Pop neighborhood market.

Most of our neighbors are at work all week, so it's pretty quiet out there. I'm home and have been for many years. We too have an annual block party.

There was a time all of us Moms were home and saw each other all the time, and shared coffee visits with each other. That's gone, and I do miss it.

My old friends live all over the place now, so I need to drive to see them.

I have come to know a lot of the market employees and enjoy short chats with them. I need my car to get there though. It's pretty far from my home.

Forget interchange with a lot of people we may run into. So many are plugged into their phones and are engaged in what seem to be never ending conversations. I am not one of them.
My cell phone is for emergencies. Period.

I'm at the bowling alley three times a week and bowl in leagues. That's a great place to meet up with people and enjoy recreation at the same time. Plus, it's fun.

Wherever I go or shop, I talk with people, and have some interchange with them. Some, as in my favorite store for gift shopping, or clothes, I have come to know.

Those who work everyday have their interchanges with others as well. I can see down the road, that more folks could be working at home, and would be more isolated.

So, yes things have changed, but we can make the most of it if we try. There are a lot of nice people out there, all we need to do is make a little effort to strike up a conversation.

Finally, I enjoy coming here, and having the opportunity to converse with everyone here as well. Thanks to you Z.

To me, it's just icing on the cake!

Pris

Jen said...

Actually, I didn't have time to read outside this morning...I attended a mom's meeting. Face to face moms...meeting. :-)
It's the first time I've done that in over five years, and it was fun.

And later today I'll take the dish back to my neighbor that she lent me last week. (I made her peach cobbler and she made me brisket. Good trade!)

We try to live locally, and it's easier for me since my town looks like a remake of Mayberry. My kids know the shop owners by name, the barber, the pastor. We walk up and down our town square quite often and I know that my kids do have a sense of belonging because they have a knowledge of this town and it's people.

I resisted "knowing" people for a long time just because I'm so private, but it just fueled the loneliness I felt inside.

If I want them to love people, all kinds of people, I have to teach them to interact in the world.

It does take an effort for a lazy person like me.

Z said...

Joe, that part about the salon West of Paris put SUCH a smile on my face! That, after getting myself locked in a medical building stairwell for 10 minutes!, then a painful doc's exam,then a car that had to suddenly go into the shop for at least $800 and the nervousness of driving it as it idled badly from the doc's place to the mechanic (weak knees by the time I arrived!) felt so good...THANK YOU!
I have to mention a dear friend stopped everything when I called him asking if he could come drive me home and he came to the mechanic's, yelled "Hey, Gorgeous" as he drove up, and took me home! (the GORGEOUS went a long way, let me tell yoU!)
Joe...I know you're absolutely right, i don't HAVE to use technology but we do ....I have to admit that sometimes I'm happy when I have to tell someone something and their machine comes on instead of their answering and I can just LEAVE A MESSAGE! That's SAD and really rather nasty of ME, I guess. "Oh, good, she wasn't home...I can just leave a message!" :-)
See, all of this, I think, kind of wears on your sensibilities in ways that I think aren't great.

But, really, one can't survive THAT well without the internet anymore, you know?
By the way, KUDOS for spelling n'est-ce pas ..that's a killer! Do you speak French? I loved your comments and so appreciate when you come by.

Pris, you know that's me, too..talking with shop people, interacting in 100 ways in groups I belong to, etc., but we all have to admit we ARE moving toward a "Jetsons" style life we never thought could happen......
Your grandson will live in QUITE a different world.

I maintain life in a small town like BZ discussed is slower, friendlier and safer.
I love my own life here in a slightly quieter corner than most of LA, but I do love that feeling of seeing a friend on the street, etc., and wish it happened more often.

Once, when I had my business's office two blocks from my house on Wilshire Blvd, the main (and busiest)drag in LA, a girlfriend was there when my mailman who serviced both my office and my house, brought my house mail in with the business mail...Melinda cracked me up when she said "What is this, MAYBERRY?" :-)

Z said...

Jen, glad to hear you had a nice morning, anyway !
ANd I LOVE that your children do feel so connected with their neighborhood...you're such a good mom :-) xx

Jen said...

you're such a good mom :-)
-------

Thanks, Z. Let me know when you want a list of all the "bad mommy" things I do. It's a lot longer. :-)

Mom's group = isolated and stressed women with children needing to connect and recoup while said children are fed and cared for by someone OTHER THAN them.

Fabulous.

Joe Conservative said...

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The real Mayberry wasn't nearly as idyllic as the Hollywood-Andy Griffith Show. Life was actually somewhat tedious and socially repressive. But with empowerment comes the difficulty of making the right choices, for our families, friends, and ourselves.

And no, I don't speak French. I acquired a smattering from my daughter's love of French movies (w/English subtitles). Maybe one day...

I'm glad your day turned around. ;)

Anonymous said...

Z, yes I know that's you too. We're so shy and retiring, aren't we? HAHA

I will say that Mr.Pris's parents lived in a small town, and everyone seemed to know everyone else's business. It was gossip central, for crying out loud!

There are advantages and disadvantages to most things, I think. Small town living is no exception.


Pris

heidianne jackson said...

i grew up in the middle of nowhere and couldn't wait to leave it behind. ever since i had my first child i've been trying desperately to get back to small town america. i've finally made it!

i can't walk to the store from my house, but i drive to the lake and walk around it and walk to the little stores from there. or i drive over to lake arrowhead and spend the day in the village.

working from home, i often feel very isolated. but going to the local coffee shop or the local park (on a nice day) gives me an opportunity to work and interact with real, live people.

it never ceases to amaze me how many people already "know" me when i go to the grocery store (mom & pop shop) or the post office (no mail delivery in the mountains) or even the coffee shop. i never fail to run into someone to talk to when i'm walking around the lake or attending a concert in the village.

yes, technology is awesome, but it does isolate. but like joe said, nothing is stopping me from turning it off - except of course my clients' desire for instant response. but i am working on training them BACK to reasonable expectations for response.

funny aside - got a call from a client in denver a few days ago "hey, i sent you an email, didn't you get it?" me: "not certain, scott, i'm driving." client: "doesn't email go to your iphone?" me: "um, see previous statemtent about driving." he still didn't get it. sheesh.

Jen said...

Life was actually somewhat tedious and socially repressive.
---

Ummm....yeah.

----
But with empowerment comes the difficulty of making the right choices, for our families, friends, and ourselves.


Double yeah.

Z said...

Well, we're all probably 'right' about big town/small town...impersonal/personal touches...internet/phone calls, etc etc.
Chacun a son gout!

I long for the smaller town life but then I was in Salt Lake City last week and thought "I love this place...but...maybe if it was a BIT bigger!"

And, yes, Pris, gossip sets in when one's in a smaller town, that's true....My Dad was from Troy, NY and he was thrilled to get out of the small town atmosphere and into LA anonymity.

Whatever! I guess I'm a traditionalist and one who loves niceties and running into people and being glad you did!

and I love all of you, so darned if I'D quit the internet! xx

Always On Watch said...

I love The Jetsons!

Of course I know the name of the dog.

Hell, I can still sing the entire theme song for the show.