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Social Club for the Technology Challenged

by Chris Sorrenti


None of them owned a mobile…Blackberry, or I-phone
though had tinkered with one or the other
at some point in the recent past
whether through work demands or family crisis
a road trip in the Rockies
even the gangliest of first generation cellular
was a welcome addition to the baggage
and not that long before GPS

It wasn’t that the new gadgets were beyond their mental capacity
but each individual in turn had decided
hand held devices were too much an intrusion on their lives

Maybe it was the continuous din of any number of ring tones
at all hours of day and night
that after the first couple of times surely even to the owners
had also lost their charm
or maybe it was the girl who bumped into one of them at the supermarket
so wrapped up in the keys of composing a text message
was temporarily incapacitated to watch where she was going

And then there were the simply rude
who insisted on talking at the top of their lungs
into their own unique versions of electronic narcissism
spilling out mundane life stories better left forgotten if not heard at all
or the young man who showed no hesitation
in expressing his affection to a girlfriend
by French kissing the receiver of his Koodo
to a packed bus load of strangers no less
brain dead from another day of being plugged into the system
some of whom spoke on their own devices
though were considerate enough either through good upbringing
or had learned, maybe even told at some point
to keep their own lives with at least a little bit clothing on

No...these rogue technophiles still used land lines and electronic mail
had automated answering machines at home and at the office
seeing the precious moments in-between
as a time to meditate, do Tai-Chi, or curl up on a transit seat with a good book
the telephone and keyboard solely tools in setting up a ‘face to face’
where truly meaningful things should and would be discussed

The rest of the time they wrote poetry or painted
sipped fine wine and/or puffed on strange looking cigarettes
to engage in enjoyable homemade dinners with similarly minded friends
and when too lethargic from an endless stream of reading e-mails...composing e-mails
assembling various amounts of information to be attached to those e-mails
then later having to write more e-mails to the same persons
to clarify and discuss certain points of the earlier e-mails
there was always the trusty radio and television to burst out of the microwave bubble

While at home, inhaling classical music or ingesting documentaries
interrupted by a cavalcade of commercials…many of them for cells
and the sad, ridiculous notion of some well meaning but poor sucker
willing to pay good money for the privilege of saying
“Hi honey, I’m on my way home”

© 2010

1,230 hits as of December 2019

12/28/2010

Posted on 12/29/2010
Copyright © 2019 Chris Sorrenti

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 12/29/10 at 03:00 PM

I love. I love every damn thing about it.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 12/29/10 at 05:25 PM

Well done, Chris. Making actual eye contact with a real person these days is almost startling, it's so rare. You've really laid us out here, old technology and new, users all.

Posted by Scott Utley on 12/29/10 at 06:46 PM

I am so, like really man, so into this - once Ricard and Woodhill have commented on something, I usually don't feel the impulse to add anything further, because they usually nail my sentiments, so I should be unabashedly ashamed to ride their, and your coat-tails to fame but I am not. But's that's another social disorder all together. I love this piece because I empathize so completely - and did you know that by cutting the cell phone out, I am saving enough money a year for one round trip Hawaii? You have put into poetics a great elucidation of a very serious social conundrum.

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 12/29/10 at 09:35 PM

The good old days, of which these days may never be included in. Every line is on-target, Chris. Delighted. Thanks.

Posted by Ken Harnisch on 12/30/10 at 06:45 PM

As sparkling, crisp and damning an indictment of our twittering age as I've read, Chris...I am still fondly recalling when i had to use a map to get out of New Jersey, there were no emergency contacts on the highway except roadside assistance phones and GPS sounded like some sort of high school degree for the academically unfortuate...and that was 1990! Great write!

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 12/30/10 at 08:20 PM

Wonderful write from start to finsh- loved it!

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 12/31/10 at 06:50 PM

Right on!! I do have a cell phone for convenience and emergencies (as when I am driving). Some people appear to have the things permanently fastened to their ear!

Posted by Paul Lastovica on 01/01/11 at 01:01 AM

perhaps these days will one day be counted amoung the good ones - when phone-chips are implanted in our brains at birth and we communicate with and are observed by our very thoughts. So, maybe it's not so bad after all...yet?

Posted by George Hoerner on 01/01/11 at 02:59 PM

This should go on the front page of the NY Times. A great write Chris!

Posted by Clara Mae Gregory on 01/01/11 at 04:05 PM

Astute observations of our tech oriented world well stated.How, not what,we humans communicate has become the dominating factor and by some accounts, it has become fickled and flawed.I enjoyed reading this, Chris.Thanks for sharing it. :)

Posted by Jody Pratt on 01/01/11 at 05:56 PM

I enjoy this for the truth behind it and how I can relate. I still use snail mail, because it's fun to receive something other than a bill in the mail. I do own a cellphone, but it is basic and I refuse to buy a new one unless this one no longer works. Congrats on #1, I think this is a great poem for the spot.

Posted by Steve Michaels on 01/01/11 at 11:13 PM

I am in sync with so much of what you say here. I especially like the 2nd stanza and the last two. The closing is awesome. In my business a cell is a necessary evil, but I step outside when I take a call and keep my phone on vibrate. Keep up the great work!

Posted by A. Paige White on 01/02/11 at 02:52 PM

"to keep their own lives with at least a little bit clothing on" is my favorite line in this masterpiece. I'm with you on this one, brutha. I have never composed a text message on a handheld device. From what I've seen, I muuuuuuch prefer an old fashioned keyboard.

Posted by Stephen Ogden on 01/03/11 at 09:52 PM

You must have met my wife :) A wonderful poem. Steve

Posted by Alison McKenzie on 01/15/11 at 11:18 AM

What DID we do before we could track/stalk our loved ones? Oh yeah, we made grocery lists, and guesstimated times of arrival, and actually answered the phone because we couldn't "screen" calls. We planned our lives a little, because we weren't privy to spur of the moment reminders and connections. Hehe. How did we ever manage? Love this!!!

Posted by Laura Doom on 03/01/11 at 11:49 AM

Well, I guess it was karma that removed 'Karma' from your library, but I'm happy to come back to this detailed exposition of detached networking :>

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