This morning I lounged in bed, listening to sound of my boyfriend’s coffee percolator. While the rhythmic sound lulled me in and out of sleep, I wondered why he had never relented and purchased an easy-to-use single cup coffee maker like I have. He’s usually so up on technology, with the newest iPhone and latest & greatest software applications. So, really, what's with the old perc?
But, as I waited for the coffee to brew, I realized I was actually enjoying the anticipation -- the sound, the smell -- knowing that in minutes my boyfriend and I would sit down together and communally experience the same pot of coffee. He would pour two mugs and add just the right amount of my creamer, (definitely an act of love.) Then we would relax, talk and enjoy the simple intimacy a lazy Sunday morning. No single cup, on-the-run coffee for me today!
Then it also occurred to me just how many communal experiences have become so individualized. Families used to sit and watch the news together on television, and fall into easy conversation. Now each of us picks and chooses which news snippets we wish to read from the web and anonymously post comments online.
Sharing music used to be a group activity. Friends would spend entire afternoons together, dedicated to classic rock. We’d study each album cover, decipher the art, memorize the lyrics. Heck, we'd even play the songs backwards, searching for hidden meaning. But my three teenage sons "cherry pick" their music, one tune at a time, torn away from its comrades. The other "b list" songs don't stand a chance. And, of course, they listen individually on headphones, without the "play by play" commentary from their friends.
I used to get together with girlfriends to go shopping or play Scrabble, and sneak in a lunch. Now much of our shopping is done online, our trips to the mall infrequent. And Scrabble is played in front of the laptop, without conversation or banter. A lonely sandwich at my side.
Yesssss, I am obviously not the first person to realize that while technology has connected us in ways we never thought possible, it has also served to isolate us. The simple, every day connections, which used to be inherent in our lives, no longer present themselves quite as organically. It is up to each of us to make them happen.
Which brings me back to that cup of joe … (yay, it’s almost ready!) I will sit down and savor my steaming, aromatic mug. But, along with my coffee, I will drink in the simple human connectivity of sharing a slow-brewed pot of coffee. Hey, maybe my boyfriend is onto something...