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Monday, April 23, 2012

Times Are Changing


          Times are changing.  But while some things never change, certain aspects of them are different.  I’m talking about teen dances.  I remember in high school, the boys always stood or sat in huddles on one side of the room, watching the girls, and punching each other in the arm while teasing about the girls they liked.  The girls sat on the other side of the room, waiting in frustration to be asked to dance.  Some of them would get exasperated by the boys’ behavior and start dancing with each other.  Eventually, the boys and girls would get together to dance, just about time the dance was scheduled to end.  Then the youngsters were frustrated because the dance was ending so “early”.
          One Saturday evening, we attended a combination birthday party and Hawaiian Luau dance for our granddaughter, who was leaving the nextThursday for Massachusetts to live with her dad and family.  Regan had asked for this dance, because she dearly loves to dance, and thought it would be a good chance to see most of her schoolmates here before she left.
          The dance was scheduled to begin around 8 p.m., but the music  actually started at 7 p.m.  The early music was mostly for the chaperones, the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other younger children, meaning it was country music.  Elijah Jackson was acting as DJ and his computerized setup was working quite well.  There was even a disco ball strobe light in the corner behind him throwing colorful light streaks across the room as it revolved.  It was really kind of cool.
          Most of the early dancing was done by the little ones, from 1 year old to 11 years old.  Some of the adults danced with the tiniest kids, while the teens and tweens sat or stood around on the opposite side of the room.  This was all much the same as when I was that age.
          But there was a difference in this dance.  Instead of dancing, most of the youngsters were talking in small groups here and there, but they were almost all huddled together over cell phones.
Cell phones do not necessarily put off a romantic glow.  They do not encourage verbal interaction between the users.  I’m not sure the texting going on was all about the dance.  I think some of the texting and messages being sent back and forth across the room were probably messages that perhaps Mom and Dad would not approve of.
          But times being the way they are, this type of interaction seems to be the norm rather than the exception.  There were 3 or 4 kids actually dancing on the floor or just off the floor, but they were dancing individually or with people of the same sex.  Actually they were showing each other the latest dance moves, which was quite entertaining.
          The kids were all very well behaved, at least while we were there.  But I wonder if any of them actually danced with other peers, or if it was a big texting session set to music.  The music changed while we were there from the easy going “old folk” music that we enjoyed early in the evening to the Michael Jackson music, and other rock music of this century.  We stayed for about 90 minutes, then came on home.
          Watching the teens texting each other while talking to each other seemed almost bizarre.  A lot of things seem strange lately. 
Technology has developed to such a heightened level, but still almost primitive compared to the inventions of the future to come.  Who knows in what ways we will be communicating in the future?
I’ve heard stories about microchips that will be placed under the skin to keep track of children so they won’t get lost from their parents.  On the surface, this sounds like a good plan, but will these chips be removed as they reach adulthood?  I doubt it.  Will this be a way for big government to keep tabs on everyone?  Will we be losing another freedom? 
Microchips are being developed with our medical histories on them also.  This can be a good thing in an emergency, but what if this gets into the wrong hands?   Who all will know of our medical problems?  Will this knowledge be used against us when applying for work, or for public office?  Big Brother is creeping into our lives so slowly and insidiously, that we are not even aware of it.  It worries me.
I know it sounds like I am a paranoid schizophrenic.  Maybe I am.  But I believe government has changed so that we work for them, and not the other way around, the way it was intended when this country was founded.  I believe we need to keep closer tabs on the people who are keeping tabs on us.
I believe we need to get our lives and our country back on the right track, before we lose it.
I believe I  need to end this article, and get my laundry and dishes done.  Until next time, happy texting!

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