November 6, 2006

Dad sent me a correction: He bought his Westinghoust 37″ LCD monitor through Crutchfield and not through Best Buy because the price was better through Crutchfield.

It is “back to the grind” day. I was well on track to getting into the office at a normal time today but every time that I made a serious attempt to leave the apartment the phone would ring and I would have to work for a little while and that just went on and on until almost ten! Then I was finally able to run down and order my car and to walk over to Subway and get myself an egg and cheese sub to get me through the morning.

This morning before escaping from Newark I got an email from Carrie Hooper (now Carrie Russo) whom I have not heard from in probably eleven or twelve years. She is back living in York after having been living in Connecticut for a while. The Internet is really amazing and I think one of the ways that it is going to really affect the lives of the generation following me is in the way that it allows people to stay connected with each other over time and distance. For people of my generation we are using the Internet as a great tool for “reconnecting” to people. Tools like MySpace, Classmates.com, etc. are designed around finding people that you have lost contact with and for people my age this is a new paradigm for rediscovering lost social connections.

But truly we are in a transitional age. To the generation older than mine the idea of social connections was rooted well in the mists of time. Social interaction was done in person or through “pre-arranged” media interactions like postal mail and telephone. Mediums that required a pretty significant knowledge of the person that you are looking to contact and up-to-date interactions with them to be sure that your address database was accurate. The older generation is getting some of the benefits of the Internet’s ability to bring people together in new ways but most of its benefits are lost to them as they had too much time between the time that they made social connections and when the Internet would have given them the ability to re-establish those connections.

For my generation we are able to, by the time that we are in our thirties, rediscover our childhood and adolescent social connections. We will grow old knowing that the email address of our friends will never again change even if they move, nor will their new, portable telephone number. Their websites will always exist in the same place with the same name giving us the latest details on their lives. We went through the disconnect the same as our parents and their parents did after moving, after school, after college, between jobs, etc. but we are putting those pieces back together and making our lives a continuing fabric of friendship and social knowledge.

What we have yet to see, however, is with the following generation. In these young adults and teenagers of today we are about to witness the first group of people who will, en masse, never lose touch with each other. The very concept of the social disconnect created by changing life phases will be unknown and foreign to them. What has been a key underpinning of the human experience since Noah and family departed the ark and went their separate ways to find farmland – the transient nature of most human sociological interactions – is gone. Imagine an entire population for whom every person that they have ever interacted with to any degree being available to them by phone, email, instant messenger, text messaging or whatever at anytime, anyplace.

How with this change in human interactions affect our society? One can only speculate. But the ramifications could be, will most likely be, significant. Mankind has always been driven by the desire to find long lost friends, through wondering what has become of so many of the people that they used to know, of needing to only manage current social connections with a small fraction of a lifetime’s worth of established connections. Children today need to handle the ability to continuously interact with an ever growing number of people for the rest of their lives. The human experience is changing! We are less alone and more a part of each other’s lives than ever before.

Work was surprisingly slow today. What a nice break this has been. All weekend I didn’t get a single call and so far this week looks like it is stacking up to be a nice, relaxing, “normal” week. And Saturday is Veterans’ Day which does not mean that I don’t have to work on Friday as it is not an actual bank holiday but it is a slow day with the Federal Reserve Bank being closed.

Our hall table that we ordered from Target online was delivered today. What perfect timing. Now we can get it assembled and set up and everything that is going to go into it put into place before Susan arrives tomorrow. Otherwise we would have been putting furniture together with Susan there to watch. We have been needing a hall table for a while. Now if we can just get the apartment building to get their butts into gear and to get the hall closet door fixed so that it will close all of the way we will be all set. The box arrived and is 51 inches tall and weighs in at 99 pounds! That is a big, heavy box.

I did some looking at the map today and discovered that Rye Harbor in New Hampshire where Andy and I love to go to get seafood. Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are about the same distance away as well. There is a lot of good stuff not too far away. I have never done any amount of vacationing in Massachusetts. There is a lot there that I would like to see. I have been to Boston but only ever for a few minutes, literally, with Andy on our way to Rye Harbor one time. And I have never been to Plymouth (originally Plimoth) or Cape Code or the islands there or even Long Island. Some of the guys that I work with were telling me that this is the perfect time of year to head to Long Island’s north shore and to check out the wineries there.

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