Human Isolation By Electronic “Conveniences”
We don’t see it happening. We’re allowing ourselves an end to human contact, by the slithering isolaton from each other by Covid, politics, (I hear people say, “I hate liberals”), ever more polarizing belief systems, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion and yes, electronics.
Perhaps only with electronics do we have any control. Using these “conveniences” is inconveniently isolating us.
I strongly suggest we get back to dealing with humans instead of machines. I’m doing it, and I can tell you it’s been a warm and refreshing experience. When given the choice of electronics over in-person assistance, I always use human help.
Most of us can go through an entire day or several days without human interaction. Personally, I feel it, there’s something missing, and I’ve sensed that for a number of years when interfacing with gadgetry instead of humans.
Filling the Tank
What could be more “convenient” than paying at the pump? I use the same gas station and I go in to pay, and enjoy friendly, polite, smiling interaction. They recognize me. We like each other. It’s a family owned business and those are disappearing fast. Plus that hard-working family are legal immigrants. I meet a new family member regularly.
My medical/dental complex is 15-minutes away by car or bus. Instead of sitting on hold longer than that, hearing a machine repeatedly telling me I’m 9th in the cue, I drive there instead.
I’m an outgoing kind of person anyway, and it’s been fun becoming friendly with staffs. I try to make them laugh. We actually like each other! How I’ve missed that! What’s nicer than seeing a bunch of people waving and smiling at you when you walk in the door?
I refuse automatic refills and free delivery. It’s a family-owned pharmacy, like the gas station, so what torture can it be to go in there for refills and hang out while waiting for them? There are ACTUAL CONVERSATIONS taking place! Horrors!
Kroger wants to turn checkouts into 100% self checkout. They fired long term cashiers. I quit that store. I’m going to be rude, you’ve been warned: Fuck Kroger.
Whole Foods (in spite of being owned by Amazon) uses living, breathing employees!! What a concept. Besides, cooking for one isn’t as simple as it sounds. So I’m in there often, asking what’s fresh, and they tell me.
I choose a cashier who is an older lady, in my view too old to be on her feet all day. I’m happy to wait in line. We’re friendly and I can amuse her. She’s happy to see me!
There’s another cashier from my hometown, New Orleans, and we call each other “home.” I feel like home every time I see her. So does she.
In all these interactions, don’t let anyone call you MISTER or MS. Have them call you by your first name or nickname. I don’t care about age difference or store policy. Call me Skip.
I could go on.
My cleaner’s, car service, restaurants (ask for a paper menu. I refuse to bring my phone in), bars, etc. The benefits are, I hope, obvious. Maybe keeping people employed, using locally-owned businesses, but just as important — maybe even moreso — is human interaction. Laughter, poking fun, being friendly.
Dear reader, I urge you to go against the grain. There are all kinds of arguments against this, and I don’t care. Join me! Human interaction is a gift if we want it to be. Are you a grouchy old sourpuss? Okay, YOU stay home.
Now hear me out. This has nothing to do with the attractive lady, Amanda, at the med complex. Nothing, I tell you.