Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Alien in America

I post erratically because of my internet service provider is extremely inconsistent.

An Alien in America.

I've been in the USA for a year now. Why do I feel so out of place, so out of touch? 22 years of living in a Caribbean culture has left me two decades clueless to the American way it seems.

America is supposed to be an omnipotent country with modern ways. But it's really just an illusion.

Arriving on the scene, two decades later, I've noticed that personal freedoms have severely eroded. The patent excuse is "terrorism" or "911".

Computer technology was supposed to save us from endless paperwork, but it's created a mountain of paperwork.

I thought by now we would have cell phones that doubled as wallets and file cabinets. That we could point our cell phone at a cash register, pay for our purchases and have the big long paper receipt stored electronically on our cell phone. Paperless!

Many businesses don't even have a workaround system for when their computer is down. Everything stops. Clerks stare off aimlessly, unable to use pen and paper to complete a transaction.

My friend sent me to the grocery store with a long list. When I tried to check out, the transaction was nearly complete when the computer went down.

I was held up in the grocery store for another half hour while various clerks tried to frantically process the transaction to completion. It was either that or leave without the groceries.

I dare say, that computer, or lack of, sure made things super complicated.

The next day, in another store, picking up a cheap little part, I handed the money and part to the cashier. There was a computer problem. He told me there would be a wait. I said I just wanted to pay and leave, I had a ride waiting. I looked anxiously outside.

For the next 10 minutes he banged away at the computer, trying to ring up my part and take my money. I just wanted to leave, but I needed that dang receipt, in case it was the wrong part or it didn't work. Meanwhile the line grew of people waiting for the computer to work. I wish he could have scribbled out a receipt, made my change and sent me on my way. But no, we had to wait until he got the computer coaxed into working again.

Have computers complicated our lives, not simplified them?

I feel like such an alien.

I walk around the nice neat sidewalks of the suburban neighborhood where I am currently parked in my motorhome. Most all the houses are closed up tightly, windows firmly shut, curtains and shades completely closed. Massive garage doors hide cars and stuff.

It often looks like I am walking around a ghost town. I expect a dried up tumbleweed to come rolling past. Or perhaps I've stepped into a Sci-Fi movie. All the residents were vaporized except the mermaids. I'm a mermaid, so I am the lone survivor.

Me and Toto in the Wizard of Oz.

The current weather in central Florida is perfect for being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. But where are the residents? Hermetically sealed in their cave like houses?

I relish having my windows open, my shades up and the sunshine to walk my goofy puppy dog.

He is looking at me now, silently begging for a walk.

It's simple. Requires no paperwork nor computer.

I can handle simple.

We shall go walk on a Sunday morning and see if there is any life in the neighborhood.

If you don't hear from me again, you will know I stepped over the rainbow.

It seems only yesterday, we were at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina, walking the beach.

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