Friday, June 17, 2011

Yes, I know I'm pathetic

Apparently there is this new life-changing series of iPhone apps. (I know, oxymoronic, but bear with me) With this new “Augmented Reality," you can see what is going on in your general vicinity: what people in the next apartment building who I’ve never met are tweeting, what restaurants are within walking distance, and what stores are having big sales. How did I ever survive without this?! It’s like the fun and excitement of walking around outside without having to bother with leaving my room.

Alright, you get the idea. I’m not exactly sold on this Augmented Reality business. But Ollie was so gung-ho about the whole thing, that I listened to what he had to say. At the end of the conversation, with me refusing to accept this new reality, he chalked it up to me being a luddite and moved on.

But that’s not exactly true. As much as I’d like to refuse to believe that I allow new technologies and arbitrary Internet trends to invade my consciousness, I can’t. I am not that pure.

Just yesterday my friend from back home, Ward, posted a news story about Omaha pastors who are preaching that being gay is not sinful. God bless them. Well my friend who is happily and boisterously conservative, posted this to his Facebook, commenting that it’s a sin to be gay and these preachers should not be ignoring this Old Testament Biblical fact (again, oxymoronic, I know).

Now, as Ward and I disagree on almost everything politically (and apparently religiously) I always post snarky comments on his hyper-conservative Facebook musings. I can have a laugh that we are so different and move on.

But this time I got sucked in. Facebook sucked me in. The Internet. Not proud to say.

I ended up reading the five million responses to his comment. Of course, being his friends, many share his view that being gay is a sin and you love the sinner and all that nonsense. As I read through the comments, I felt myself getting physically upset. My heart started racing, my palms got sweaty, I started shaking.

It’s as if I had never been aware that there were people out there in Nebraska who hold these beliefs.

My question is, how did I let myself get so involved in this conversation, clearly not targeted to me? How did I let these strangers have such an effect on my afternoon?

Facebook, man, gets you every time. The Internet has a way of scrambling my priorities. There are very real things when working with refugees to be angry about. But somehow I managed to get myself worked up over a Facebook stream.

So I’m tainted. I am ashamed to admit that Facebook affects my day.

But, I have never downloaded an app, retweeted or hash-tagged anything. And I have yet to augment my reality.

I’ll try to keep it that way.

In the mean time, I’m going back on Facebook to read people’s posts about painting their toenails, cooking mac and cheese or whatever they think is important enough to broadcast to their friends. And I will think it’s really, truly important information to have.

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