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Volume xviii, Issue 1 ~ January 7 - January 13, 2010

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We’re Losing Our Minds!

Time and our times assault us all, as testify two Bay Weekly writers,
Dick Wilson, 77, and Diana Beechener, 26.

Take One: MBDS

by Dick Wilson

I should have been prepared for this. Good-hearted folks have told me many times over the years that things were going to get more difficult when I got older. I took their words to heart, prepared myself.

My mistake (and theirs) was our joint failure to understand that it’s the world that’s changing; it’s not me. For example, it used to be that things stayed where I put them. If I put my car keys on my nightstand at night, that’s where they’d be when I woke up in the morning. Not any more. All I know about my car keys from one day to the next is that I will have to look for them — and they will never be in the first place I look.

We’re supposed to get wiser as we get older. If I could remember to keep my appointments, my doctor would, no doubt, diagnose me with MBDS (Muddled Brain Disorder Syndrome).

(I’m not going to tell him voluntarily. Let him figure it out; he’s the one who went to medical school.)

I go to the supermarket with a list of four items. I lose the list, naturally, and can’t remember three of the items, so I have to call home. But I forgot to bring my cell phone. So I buy the one item I remember. When I get home, I find out the item I thought I remembered, and bought, was on last week’s list (which I also lost). Later I find the lost list (the last lost list) in my shirt pocket, not in the jacket pocket where I know I left it.

It’s the world. The world is doing these things to me. However, I know how to handle it: I’ll just make a list of stuff I need to remember.

That shows you how wise I am.

Take Two: Thnx but no Thnx

by Diana Beechener

It never fails. I’m on my way to meet a friend, grabbing my keys in a mad rush to get out the door when my cell phone beeps.

I hate cell phone beeps.

I flip open my phone and see a phrase that can ruin my day: 1 New Text Message.

I pull up the message and find a chair. This is going to take a minute. On the tiny screen is a jumble of letters, missing vowels and confusing anagrams.

Did she change the time of the meeting? Did she change the day? Did she forget how to write a sentence in plain damn English?

So here I sit, the girl with a minor in English, trying to figure out what in the world I’m reading. Since the advent of text speak, I’ve been lost in a world of IDK, BFF, FTW, until all I could think was WTH.

Finally, I give up: I’ll just check her Facebook page.

My generation has transitioned from a global community to a sort of digital hive mind.

Our technical interconnectivity is such that it’s no longer sufficient to send out a group email. Now I must update my Facebook, check my MySpace friends and refer to people’s Tweets. None of my friends have the same update habits.

Some Skype but won’t Facebook. Others text but won’t return voicemails.

Now I spend what feels like an eternity trying to figure out which friend goes with which form of modern communication.

Ease of information access also means I’m inundated with useless information. No, I don’t care what you scored on the What Jane Austen Hero Would You Date? quiz. I also don’t really care if you’re having trouble packing for va-cay.

After logging on to four web pages and checking Skype and my email, I finally figure out that I’m supposed to be meeting my friend for pizza not Chinese. Only now, I’ll be late.

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