Saturday, September 5, 2009

The ground is shifting. Who'll be left standing?

I read a report today that a school somewhere is ditching its library in favor of an electronic reading room, where there will be computer stations with internet access instead of dusty old books that take up space.

The U.S. Postal Service is ripping out mailboxes and shutting down postal stations as Americans' use of the mail drops like a rock. The last several births among my circle of friends and acquaintences I've learned of through Facebook -- not baby announcements.

A store near my workplace that sold Franklin planners, the requisite corporate accessory of the '90s, just closed. Who needs to lug around a day planner when your life is mapped out on your BlackBerry?

Our stash of CDs defines us as dinosaurs now that music is digitized, downloaded and delivered through earbuds attached to a playing device not much larger than a cigarette lighter. (Weren't CDs the great new replacement for vinyl just a few weeks ago??...?)

People used to want to meet the President, back when we respected the office, even if we disagreed with the perspective of the person. Okay, I admit that's not been the case for awhile, like since Nixon was in the White House....

Conversation's cut off after 140 characters, where it's now ok to ask how U R 2-day.

You can't even count on the bankability of movie stars any more, at least according to a radio talk show I heard yesterday where the guests discussed Hollywood's puzzlement that the box office for GI Joe surpasses that of movies with names like Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise.

Every conventional wisdom is turned on its ear. Everything I think I know, I don't. Everything experience tells me is wrong. Everything I thought I could count on, I'm not so sure about any more.

The ground is shifting under our feet. It's both exciting, and for a fossil like me, a bit frightening, to be on the planet at this moment in time. I wonder if this is how people felt at the start of the industrial revolution, or when electric lights made night baseball possible.

Who'll be left standing? Will I survive this dramatically changing landscape?

As Otis naps nearby after an afternoon walk, as the buzz of cicadas provide a soundtrack to a lovely September afternoon, as I think about the real people behind all those Facebook and Twitter profiles, as my husband slices tomatoes from the garden in the kitchen for supper, I think the answer might be "yes," if I just hang on to the things I believe are solid ground over time.

I hope I'm right. Meanwhile, I think I'll head over to and check out the Kindles....

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