Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Disconnect

Standing in line, a lone can of Off bug spray the only product on the conveyor before me, there was no way I could not notice the young mother in front of me at the check out. Not because she was rather pretty, nor because she had a huge pile of grocery items, both on the conveyor and in her cart, but because for the roughly ten minutes I waited for her to complete her purchase she talked loudly on her cellphone. I don't remember any of the content of her conversation, but from the tone of her voice, and the occasional giggle, I figured she wasn't on a business call. As general rules of civility go, talking incessantly on your cell phone while standing face to face with a live person is rude. But what I found most distressful was the fact that the entire time this young lady gabbed away, her toddler sat, ignored, in the shopping cart. And after I'd completed my transaction I noticed that even as she loaded her considerable number of bags into her car, she still talked on her phone, deftly balancing it between ear and shoulder, so she could talk hands free; the toddler still ignored. While I'm sure scenes like this play out somewhere, everyday, it reminded me of the addiction, and dependency mankind has developed to the media, social networking, and it's associated devices.

I cannot condemn the use of media, net, and social networking outlets; I use them myself, and they're not, after all, evil. That you're reading this is evidence of one use of cyber technology, and my posting regularly may make me an enabler. It's what our society losses, what individuals lose, when they are immersed in a cyber life, and hopelessly attached to lifes modern devices; situational awareness.

When life is turned inwards, and takes place in the a fictions realm, a detachment from reality takes place. As a sportsman, I truly believe that my time spent in the outdoors, whether in the woods or on the water, contribute of allowing me a heightened level of situational awareness. Perhaps knowing a twisted ankle while grouse hunting twenty miles from the nearest pavement, or bowhunting black bear from a ground blind can present you with the type of problem that can have grave consequence keeps you focused. But I don't think so. Seems to me, being in the outdoors is natural, and so brings out what is a natural connection. To the uninitiated, plopped down in a wilderness situation, this sense of awareness may be initially coupled with some fear, but as ones time and interest in the outdoor environ grows these feelings of awareness will become noticed. When it does, a connection will have been established.

Of course, the web, and everything about it that keep people happily unaware have uses in a Sportsmans life. Properly used we research trout streams, lodging, and guides. Whether deer hunting, bird hunting, or fowling, Google Earth becomes our friend, and through the use of online web forums we share ideas, learn, and make friends with people who have similar interests in far away places. Let's not forget the entertainment value either. Reading web publications keeps the enthusiasm high, fueling outdoor adventures of my own, which in turn get put down here, and become, in part, your adventure too.

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