If you’re like me—and I’m not saying whether that’s good or bad—in the last 15 years you may have found yourself looking more at digital roses than smelling real ones.  If you answered “yes” to the previous sentence, it’s also possible that sometimes you may have felt a little annoyed/unnerved/impatient/bored with the hot/cold/wet/snowy/sticky/smelly/people-filled/uneven/uncontrollable reality of reality. The real world lacks a “back” arrow, for one.  Or a volume control slider.  Or a master delete button (and let’s hope they’re not working on one!)  In short, the non-digital world is speckled with all kinds of messy things and to me that’s good news.  The bad news is that lack of exposure to this kind of sloppiness* after constant exposure to pristine screens can engender a sort of unease with the outdoors.  (Or even a public bus.)  Hey, is there an app for that?  Apparently, there is.

Apple’s new ad for Siri features a disembodied hand holding the sleekness that is iPhone with a caption reading: “What does poison oak look like?”  Said smartphone in said hand hangs in the air beyond which looms a slightly out-of-focus archetypal woods, shot through with fuzzy sunlight, the hand in the forefront with all the sharp crispness of the gleaming black and silver device in its grasp.**

OK, maybe it’s just me and maybe it’s just this particular ad but I get a little testy when someone suggests you need technology to venture outdoors.  Besides the fact that it could underscore the sort of fears that may contribute to a nature deficit disorder we already have, it’s just a little silly.  All right, it’s supposed to be funny.  (I think.)  Or clever.  But funnier would have been Little Red Riding Hood’s hand with a photo of the Wolf on her iScreen.  Then, at least, we would have been in on the metaphysical joke instead of nodding along thinking, yeah, next time I dare to leave my house I must bring my devices or jeez Louise I might get a rash.  Or worse.

Look, it’s not just Apple.  Full disclosure, you are reading this blog on the Internet, I am typing it on a Mac and, yes, lots of people use technology.  But how?  And how much?  Do we use it or does it use us?  Many tech entities make a ton o’ money selling their stuff as must-haves to folks who’ve managed to get by without them for years [fill in your favorite waste of time app here.]  I humbly submit that kowtowing to the mindset that we cannot exist without gadgetry to guide our steps might be a step too far.  Giving up firsthand experience is giving up firsthand knowledge.  I realize we can’t possibly know everything about everything but abdicating responsibility for what used to be everyday Everyman understanding is playing with fire.*** Starting from the position that don’t worry, you can look up any answer so don’t bother to learn/remember is not really the answer for which I was searching.

Hmm, wonder why my leg is so itchy after I weeded yesterday?

(Just kidding.  I know a mosquito bite when I see one.)


*I can lend you my husband if you need a quick reminder. 🙂

**Nameless User also appears to be getting five bars of service even here in the “wilderness”—what provider does he have?  I can’t get two bars at my own house!  But I digress…

*** And look what happened to Prometheus!


Copyright 2012, Lori Fontanes