Originally Posted by travlineasy
This is my first extended cruise, and at my age, it may be my last.
I've met so many wonderful people from the head of Chesapeake Bay to south Florida, folks that have been friendly, always willing to help when problems arrise, and I'm more than willing to assist them in any way I can. They are from a diverse life, but all seem to have one thing in common - the love of sailing.
As an entertainer, I'm constantly in contact with large numbers of individuals, many of which could care less about sailing, or boating. Most tend to live in small communities where no one knows or talks with their next-door neighbor. Things have really changed over the years, particularly with the advent of IPhones, the Email, and the impersonal aspects of the Internet itself. While technology is a wonderful thing, to me, at least, this same technology has eroded the personal aspects of everyday life.
A few days ago I visited my brother and his family. Everyone was physically attached to their IPhone. It never left their hand, they were constantly checking for text messages, emails, etc... The world beyond the end of their fingers didn't seem to exist. Little babies were allowed to freely run around the house and constantly get into things that could potentially harm them. The only time the phone was put away was when a loud crash and the sound of breaking glass was heard in another room.
People walking down the streets in this small community were glued to their IPhones as well. Young ladies were out walking/jogging, wearing headsets, and every one of them had a phone in their hands. Many were not paying any attention to where they were walking, some walked across busy streets without looking up from their phones and I was amazed that none were killed or injured while I was there.
The same holds true for those driving cars. While in many states it's illegal to talk or text while driving, it's a law that's completely ignored. Nearly every driver had a phone jammed in their ear, and many were seen texting with their Iphones and IPads resting on the car's steering wheel. This is INSANE!
Fortunately, in the sailing community, life seems to be a bit like it was before IPhones and similar devices. Sure, most sailors have them, but that electronic device doesn't seem to dominate their lives. To me, at least, this is a breath of fresh air. People introduce themselves to perfect strangers, friendships are developed, and old friendships are rekindled. That's the way life should be.
For me, that cellular telephone plays a minor role. It's a great form of communications, but it's secondary to the best form of communication - interaction with people by reaching out and shaking their hand, helping them with the docklines, inviting them for dinner, mixing them a Green Coconut Margaretta, and in my case, having fun while singing with me during one of my musical performances.
Amen, Brother Gary, Amen!!
So, I went to get my haircut the other day at the barber shop locally. I am sitting there with four other college kids (I am right beside USFSP). They are all tied into their phones - texting or getting on the internet, etc. THey never look at each other. They never talk. I am not sure why the magazines are there, none of them look at them.
THe digital world has changed us all. In some ways, it is wonderful. Think of the massive information now available at a moment's notice on the internet. Even more important, look at how the social sites have altered politics (and in many ways, are keeping many politicians and others accountable). However, it has also separated us more than anything in the past. I believe it has contributed to the phenomenon of not knowing your nieghbor. Our ability to communicate verbally and in writing has plummeted.
Funny story, and sad I guess, but my kids have not always been raised on a boat. Many of you know that. SO we put them in a public school. They had a very difficult time interfacing with the other kids. THe other kids would talk about X box this, or Bob Square pants, or (insert TV show of choice). My kids were clueless. Television and the electronic mechanisms have dominated so much of our lives, we have become numb to the true implications and repercussions. Case in point: My kids get along very well with other adults and other cruising kids. They mesh immediately. But if you put them in a more traditional environment, they are lost and have serious "social" issues. They cannot communicate well with the other kids. THey have little in common. My kids will end up being the quiet ones in the corner, if not shunned.
You will read this and say, "Brian, that is all for the better. They don't need that. You are doing it right." Unfortunately, my children (and all of us) have to live in that world and eventually they must interface with them. It is one of the real
issues that we as parents must be prepared to deal with and try to overcome. There are solutions, but none of them are "easy". And for those of us that grew up talking to our neighbors and without a smart phone clipped to our fingers, we always seem to underestimate the need for social skills and ability to fit in... whether we agree with it or not.
PS We have a Tv which we watch movies on. My kids have some electronic games, but they are heavily monitored (privlidges versus distractions). I have an IPhone. Chase has a phone. We all have laptops (which the kids use for school). SO, we have not shunned modern electronics... we just sideline them to each other.