Too Fast; Too Furious

By: Brien Vuylukson, Columnist
bvuylukson@boynegazette.com

Our world moves pretty fast these days everything happens in high definition at high speed, need car insurance jump on the high speed internet and get an instant quote and instant proof of coverage.  Don’t worry payment will instantly be deducted electronically from your account.

Want that big screen TV or new car, there is instant credit approval, want to watch a movie, there is video on demand and even instant streaming so we can sit down with our microwave popcorn and frozen pizza to watch it right now.

Don’t get me wrong I too enjoy all our modern conveniences and anyone who knows he will tell you that I’m a technology geek.  I love having a wealth of information just a few clicks away or being able to instantly download the latest Dan Brown Novel on Mike Hindle.  Yes, I enjoy almost all the benefits technology has to offer.

So with these added conveniences and freedoms comes a great deal of responsibility.  Like all things, abusive technology can have its dangers.  We met exercise discipline and the uses of our gadgets and gizmos.

First how often have you seen someone who always seems to be texting, Twittering or Facebooking or changing icons, setting wallpaper and colour schemes, they are tagging photos and customizing options their fingers seem to move at the speed of light while the world around them goes moving along.

No matter how important the people around them are or how pressing the situation including driving a 3,000 lbs steel vehicle at 60 mph they text and Twitter away a violation of state line out.  So much of their time is spent staring at one screen or another that life and relationships become starved for quality time.  You would think that technology would simplify our lives and give us more time for what’s really important relationship.  Instead we spend more and more time caught up in a virtual world whose only true purpose is to hold our attention enter in dollars for those whose job it is to get us addicted to such technology.

There is another area in which we must be very careful and I would like to relate it with a story here it goes, when I was just a kid 7 or 8 I think I took a ride into town with my mother and grandmother.  Grandma needed to pickup a few groceries and grandpa needed some chewing tobacco, at the check out counter the cashier keyed in each items price.

No laser scanners in 1978 while the bag boy carefully packed the items in sturdy paper bags I asked the good old days.  In the exchange of conversation there came a point when the cashier became quite rude with my grandmother the three of us left the store in a flourish grandma leading the way quite out of sorts.  As we left the parking lot grandma announced that as soon as we got home she was going to call the store manager and reported the rude attitude of the offending cashier but something interesting happened.  On the 15 minute ride home mom and grandma got to chatting and grandma forgot all about the incident when we got back to the house mom pointed to the rotary telephone on the wall and asked grandma if she still wanted to call the store manager to complain.

Grandma said no she figured the cashier was probably just having a bad day no harm done she would let it go.  Yes grandma was always merciful and kind, God rest her soul.  Now let’s fast forward to today, the same cranky cashier, same situation with all of today’s technology on the ride home grandma dials her cell phone and talks to the store manager who asks her to send him an e-mail detailing the situation so he can have it in writing.  Grandma sent the e-mail then twitters about the incident and even writes about her experience on her Facebook page.  She then visits the stores website and filled out the customer service survey giving the store terrible marks in every category.

Today with all of our options of instant communication we must slow down and exercise caution instead of immediately responding to someone’s rudeness or disrespect with a flurry of angry words either spoken or typed texted or twittered let our first response be to withdraw from the situation, let’s give ourselves sometime to think about our response and its possible consequences.  Let’s give ourselves some time to cool down.  We might just decide that the situation warrant no response at all.

Remember the old technique of take a deep breath and count to 10 good advice, sleep on it might be even better advice for some situations whatever our message taking time to cool off is sure to bring about much better outcome in a more calm state of mind we can respond maturely and appropriately and not further escalate the situation.

Let’s remember that life is all about relationships it’s not about our personal pride or honor and much more important than being right is how we choose to respond to life’s situations.  Well we choose to extend a little mercy or grace or though we respond with a flood of high tech harshness later wishing we would have reacted differently.  Anger is of course a natural instinct but shouldn’t we evolve emotionally to state in step with our high tech information highway world by using an ounce or two of self control we can save ourselves that kind of regret.

Everyone can have a bad day certainly it’s no excuse for any of us to vent on someone else but we all know it happens.  When it happens to us let’s pause before we pick up the cell phone and chew someone out let’s hesitate before hitting the send button on that all caps e-mail and if we find ourselves in a face to face confrontation by all means let’s walk away and come back when things have cooled down.

Let’s be a community that practices patience, forgiveness and even a little tolerance we all make mistakes but imagine what a better world it would be if we were to cut each other a little slack.  It’s all part of making our community a more peaceful place to live.  Our lives are not contained in lines of computer code let’s pull our heads out of the proverbial matrix and get back to the reality of life we deserve better.  So do our loved ones and friends, God bless Boyne.

Brien Vuylukson is a faith-based columnist for The Boyne City Gazette who proudly calls Boyne City his home.  His column appears bi-weekly in the paper.

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