FROM WE ARE THE “NO THANKS” GENERATION
“When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” ― Chuck Palahniuk
I try not to speculate too much about the future. What’s the point, really?
Like when someone asks me on a job interview where i think i’ll be in 5 years, i can’t help but answer with something absurd – On the moon? Inside an iPhone? Married to Leonardo DiCaprio?
I was once on the final round of an interview for a job i really wanted and they asked that question. I was screaming at myself, Jen, please, say something impressive and not weird. Come on, Jen!
“Umm,” I rambled while trying to pull myself together. “Famous?”
I try to think of how life would be if i had any kind of filter on what came out of my mouth.
I do spend a lot of time thinking about you and I and how we’ll interact in the future.
Will we, actually, interact in the future?
You know, away from our glare-free screens and keyboard that have peanut butter stuck between the keys.
When we see each other in the real world, will you say Hello? Will i be too busy looking down at my Twitter feed and you’ll be too busy reading emails with Google Glass?
We’ve become a generation of “No thanks”.
Do you need directions? Would you like me to take your picture? Can i please teach you how to make spaghetti squash?
We’ve replaced relying on human interaction to solve a problem, or get something done, with our computers or our cell phones.
We’ve totally taken on this “I can do it myself attitude”. And maybe that’s a good thing – but only sometimes.
We believe we can do everything ourselves because we have YouTube. Because we have Google. Because if we desire human interaction – we have our online dating inbox. And when we don’t, when we’d rather not make small talk with a guy at a bar or catch up with our girlfriends, we just say no thanks and binge on the newest season of House of Cards.
The other night i was leaving the subway station focusing too much on my iPhone and not enough on the stairs in front of me, and i found myself face down on the subway floor, with my lips touching the pavement and my knees smooching the ground.
I couldn’t get up.
I was experiencing a wave of initial pain that i just needed to ride out. But the 6 train just arrived and a rush of people were trying to make their way out of the station – stepping on my bag, almost stepping on my fingers, inches away from just stepping on my head.
I had to move out of the way – somehow.
One person stopped and asked me if they could help pick me up.
“NO!” I screamed without processing the desperate situation i was in.
We’ve become a generation that believes we can do everything ourselves. It’s an empowering feeling.
There’s certainly power behind the theory that you really can do anything you want in this world and you can do it without ever asking anyone for their help. But with that comes this feeling of dislocated happiness. Of true emptiness.
“Wait,” I screamed as the person started walking away. “Can you help me?”
And just like that, my hand found a place in theirs and they pulled me up until my left foot and my right foot understood the actions they needed to take next.
It felt good, for once, to say yes.
It felt good to need something from someone.
How often can we say that these days?