8. Your I D
Are Facebook and Twitter our new ‘ID Cards’
Growing older has always meant growing apart. In a way you become distant from the central hub of life. Things no longer seem as urgent or as deadly any more. Anything can be forgiven; anything can be surmounted; apart from the final most powerful act of all death.
So when the final act is knocking on your door, when all the generations older than you have left and when you are the top of the tree are there any bonuses?
Yes there are, one which is to me very important is the freedom which comes with age. The freedom to be yourself, to be eccentric, to wear what you like, to not be expected any more to make an effort or to be fashion conscious. I mean why disappoint the younger generations by not fitting in to the category we find ourselves put in. I remember an elderly lady from my own youth who complained to her very sick husband that she did not look as good as she used to. His answer to her was, what on earth are you still looking in the mirror for; I gave that up years ago. His love for her surmounted the shallowness of life today as portrayed through the media. His love of her was not based on how she looked never mind what the adverts tell you.
A down side today is that it is not only fashion and the gym which leaves us behind but the telecommunication revolution is hitting the old as never before. The old cannot sit on the train reading the latest ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ on a screen which the ‘old’ would not be able to find in a shopping bag yet alone read from. As a matter of fact, do the ‘old’ want to read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’? A trial run with a Christian Grey would finish off half the bridge team in no time.
Yes there are up sides and down sides but one area which is not being addressed is the internet with its relentless drive by the media to get ‘everyone’ on line and signed up to Facebook and Twitter. We have a situation where the media and companies across the globe are scared stiff of being left out so all sign up and try to carry every single person with them. There was a hue and cry concerning identity cards, people called them an infringement of human rights, they fought against them yet they flock to sign up to Facebook and Twitter when told to; is this your new ID? You cannot post online on practically all forums without signing up to your new ‘ID card’. You cannot try a competition without your new ‘ID card’. Even Government departments and the BBC beg – follow us on Twitter – is this an ID system by stealth?
When you are ‘old’ you are more set in your ways. To see the ‘old’ attempting to operate computers in order to be able to shop for the things they used to get on the High Street is not a good thing. When shoppers visited the High Street, they could dress, they could make themselves presentable to the world, it was a social event, a meeting of bodies and what our life was all about. Those people who have no wish to join the telecommunication revolution and prefer to stand outside find themselves without anywhere to go, no shops to buy what they need and no socializing. They cannot even try competitions any more unless they buy a computer and sign up to Facebook and Twitter. All those ‘ Victor Meldrews’ and ‘Alf Garnets’ out there, part of the great British tradition of the old causing a stir have been obliterated, they spend all their time now trying to operate a computer instead of complaining as they should be.
Then there are the trains, the great British tradition of rail travel. Where main line trains are being made more and more to operate along the lines of the tube. You stand waiting for the train to stop, small little carriages and people standing, no room any more. It is your lucky day, the door stops right in front of you, the door opens; you have to wait for those on the train to get off don’t you?
Suddenly people arrive from everywhere, you were first in the queue, a queue they do not recognize, so you struggle to get on to the high step, it is really high, but someone is in front of you all the time, passing you by as you attempt to get to the door that a minute ago was right in front of you. Suddenly the guard shouts get on we have to go and you haul yourself up the step to find all the seats have been taken by those who did not recognize the queue you were in. All taken by the young and fit who are plugged in to the ether and did not see you, did not recognize your queue and belong to a world which has nothing to do with physicality and decorum.
So who fights for the people who do not wish to join Facebook or follow the rich and famous on Twitter? Who fights for those people who want to walk down the High Street and feel the bustle of trade and smile at passersby? Who fights for the minority?
Once again the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater. Growing ‘old’ is being alienated, it is being pushed out of the pack while the pack fight amongst themselves for superiority. Many more stores will go, the older you get the more distant you will get from society. What I find sad is that you are not expected to have a brain, you are expected to follow suit or be classed as awkward. Well lets be awkward, let’s be eccentric, let’s not follow the herd and let’s sit and dwell on the words of Wordsworth, ‘what is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare’.
Why was the Phillips screw invented? This is something that has puzzled me for a while. Actually it is not as good as the flat head screw. The heads of the screws wear out quicker than the flat head screw. But if the Phillips screw had not been invented then people would not have needed to buy Phillips screwdrivers. They could have still used a knife