Don't get me wrong. I love having a computer and access to the internet. It's a wonderful thing. It keeps me in contact with family that is far away and up to date of the latest in news around the world. I can type super fast and update my blog and listen to tons of music. I can edit movies and post pictures and write a ton but there are downfalls to being so immersed in technology. I think the biggest downside to all the technology is not the possibility of theft and loss of a lot of money but that people are losing contact with one another and they are losing social graces. I have see so many people out at dinner or in bars or wherever in public and they are so plugged into their phones that they lose all social interaction with the people they are with. That's kind of sad if you ask me. Why go out if you are just going to click away on facebook or twitter on your phone? It seems a bit counter-intuitive right? Something I love about being in Peru is that you don't see as much of that as you do in the States. Obviously, you see it here but it isn't as prevalent. The majority of people who are going out are tourists and they aren't trying to be stuck on their phones the entire time. Of course, there was the other night when I was playing with Claudio and the two people at the bar were both on their phones. They clapped after the songs were over but it's totally disconcerting singing to people who are plugged into their phone. The locals here don't have smartphones for the most part. They are getting more popular but most choose to use their cheap 60 soles phones. I don't blame them either because pickpocketing is popular here. Why waste money on a nice phone when it is most likely going to be lost or stolen?
Something else that helps with social interaction is geography. The geographic make-up of Cusco is such that everyone is outside walking or on a combi. Personal cars are almost unheard of so most people use public transportation or walk places. Cusco isn't terribly big and it doesn't take long to get anywhere. I run into people I know all the time because we are all out walking around. I used to run into someone I knew in Evanston once every couple of weeks or so. Everyone is in their cars. I saw more people I knew going to the YMCA but that is because it is a community space but out and about it was not as common. I guess what all this rambling sums up is that slowly but surely, American's are isolating themselves with all the technology they have and the social, geographic daily norms are not helping the situation. Peru, as it seems is on the same path with all the hype about smartphones but at least in Cusco there is still a geographic aspect that helps to keep people in personal contact with one another. To anyone reading this I challenge you to get outside and take a walk and see if you run into anyone you know. Say hello to someone who you might not know! It could make their day! Oh, and I also challenge you to not look at your phone while you are out with a friend for lunch or a get together. THAT might be more difficult.
Haha, I think this picture is a scary and funny representation of what is happening to relationships.