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We're so accessible, we're inaccessible!

By Jack-M ·
I had to travel recently and my usual MO is to ask the taxi drivers "where re you from" cuz they are usually from 'somewhere else' and I'v had some fascinating conversations with these people.
I think I'll be forced to change my MO soon.
I flagged a cab at the airport who was on his phone, gestured to put my bags in the car and off we went. And on went his dash TV.
After I arrived at my hotel, I reflected on our trip: The driver and I had been together for an hour, and between the two of us we had been doing six different things. He was driving, talking on his phone and watching a video. I was riding, working on my laptop and listening to my iPod.

There was only one thing we never did: Talk to each other.

It?s a pity. He was a young, French-speaking African, who probably had a lot to tell me.
I relate all this because it illustrates something I?ve been feeling more and more lately ? that technology is dividing us as much as uniting us. Yes, technology can make the far feel near. But it can also make the near feel very far. For all I know, my driver was talking to his parents in Africa. How wonderful! But that meant the two of us wouldn?t talk at all. And we were sitting two feet from each other.
When I shared this story with a friend, a technologist who once labeled the disease of the Internet age ?continuous partial attention? ? two people doing six things, devoting only partial attention to each one ? she remarked: ?We?re so accessible, we?re inaccessible. We can?t find the off switch on our devices or on ourselves. ... We want to wear an iPod as much to listen to our own playlists as to block out the rest of the world and protect ourselves from all that noise. We are everywhere ? except where we actually are physically.?
What do you think about this phenom?

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Montreal

by Jack-M In reply to We're so accessible, we'r ...

The last time I was in Montreal on biz I got a cab and asked the driver where he was from.
He answered Morocco. I said 'hey, they have great hash in Morocco don't they'. He replied sure. I asked if he could get me some and he said 'sure'.
He drove me not too far out of my way, exited the cab and returned in a few minutes with a gram of hash and a pipe.
I paid him $20 American and we lit up. He gave me a tour of Montreal (free) as we smoked. He turned out to be a very friendly, out going guy who I had a lot in common with,
superficially. We had a great time, I saw the sights and we went and bought more hash.
He gave me the pipe we had been using and I had enough hash to travel to Quebec City, tour that city, saw all the sights, went to the shrine St Anne de Beaupre, and still had hash left when I got home to Pennsylvania.
The moral of the story is your cab ride, whether pleasant or not, depends on the cabbie and on you.

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