The human element in our lives is decreasing day by day. I remember going to the bank for all transactions and a person there who was not behind glass would talk with one. Now, we don’t even have to drive to the ATM mostly it is all done online. We do not have to speak to anyone at the bank.
Unless you are in Oregon, there is no one at the gas station. Oddly, I like not having anyone at the gas station, I like pulling up and quickly filling up the car.
But the grocery store—I don’t like the idea of the grocery store becoming a place of no people. They are trying to get the people out of stores and I don’t like it. I like a person being there when I buy food. I like a person to speak with.
What if we could take the people out of everything. We could shop at Ralphs with no people there, and shop at the mall with no people. We could shop for clothing, shoes, wine and cheese with no people. For what do we need people?
We want to do everything more quickly. We want to get in and out. We do not want to linger with people we don’t know so we miss human relationships, human contact.
When you call the bank, or Kaiser or unemployment you are handled by machines. Machines pass you to other machines , and you have machines chattering in your ears, machines chewing you up every way since Sunday.
The world is so full of people that we do not want to deal with them. We all need more time alone. Less face time.
I’ve been sick for days and being alone is great, you can think by yourself and you’re not putting on a show for anyone. I like that, but talent develops itself in solitude, character in the stream of life. We are defined by how we deal with other people, how we process conflict and conversation.
Time alone is what we need to write. But when we define our characters, it is by how they deal with other people, whether honestly and with integrity. I had a teacher who used to say that we had to write a list of where our characters would shop, what clothing they would be, what shoes, what restaurants our character would go to, whether the house would be decorated in family photos or art, whether the man would ride a Harley, whether the woman would cook a goose for Christmas or a ham.
We are not defined by such trifles, we are defined by who we are when see another person, whether we behave with grace or whether we cannot find it in ourselves to be human. But if we eventually have only machines to quibble with, we’ll never know.