A window inside life at Augustana College

The extinction of avoiding people.

I can’t go anywhere without people trying to ‘chat’ me. It used to be that people could just shout to you if they were nearby. Then people could call you. You never knew who it was, so you picked up the phone every time. Then caller ID was invented and we could not answer the phone when it was “that aunt that no one really wanted to talk to.” Then the invention of cell phones. Not everyone had one yet, so it was acceptable to not hand out that number and keep it a secret that you had one. Then people started to get cell phones everywhere and it was socially unacceptable to not have one. So the new excuse for not picking up was that reception was bad. Reception was just being invented so there was a ‘large shortage of it.’ You could still get away with little human interaction through this excuse. Then reception got better and people knew about it. ‘I’ve been to your house and my reception is fine.’ Foiled. So we need to pick up the phone because we know they know the reception is good, and we know that they know we know who’s calling because of built in caller ID.

Great! But then some genius comes along and decides to invent texting as a companies main mode of communication for traveling business men in the phone industry. That’s fine, except for the fact that they started selling it to civilians. The old excuse ‘I saw you called, but the message was cutting out,’ is no longer acceptable. Now we have not only a missed call, a new voicemail, but a text reading: Call me. New haircut. Must share details. You say that we can avoid the message and just not reply, sure. But then we have facebook, gmail, and any other website you can think of. People can see when you’re online all the time. So you’ve dodged the call, the voicemail, and the text. Good for you. Then you hop on any of your social networking sites: ‘Hey, did you get my messages?’

If you can’t ‘hide’ or become ‘invisible’ quick enough, you’re never going to be able to dodge that bullet. Unfortunately, few people are so quick. So you try to escape into the wilderness. Thinking to yourself, I’ll just leave my phone at home for some peace and quiet. But your friends are trying to call you and your roommate sees that you’ve left your phone at home. Why would she leave her phone at home? She never leaves without it? Since you’ve developed this trend of carrying it with you, it now seems odd and out of character that you would not have it. It has become the common understanding that you are automatically safer with your phone. People will not attack you with your phone. Leaving your phone has become a sign of neurotic behavior and neurotic trends. You must be demonstrating signs of becoming a threat to yourself and/or society. So they immediately call the cops and eventually the cops find you in the woods thanks to the GPS your parents had installed in your spine years ago because of the latest trend in child tracking and security. The cops bring you home and place a special watch on you because you have now been categorized as a troubled, young adult. Now avoiding people and finding alone time is not only scarce, but nonexistent. Society: 1, You: 0. Nice try.

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