Sunday, July 28, 2013

Digital Disorientation

I've had something weighing on my mind lately. Only now am I ready to talk about it.

It all started a few weeks ago. I was driving down a back street, minding my own business. The windows were rolled down. I was singing along with the radio like I knew my way around a tune.

There in front of me, a royal blue Chevy that single-handedly shifted the orbit of my 21st Century universe. One bumper sticker, two little words: Record Fanatic.

I mean, why the poor grammar? Have we really fallen that far?
Or is that a weird way of stating one's interest in cinematography?
Who on earth likes recording that much? Enough to print it on a bumper sticker and ride around with it?

By the next bend in the street, the light bulb had fizzled on in pops and skips.

And a little sliver of my shiny, black soul cracked off.

Because I'm no spring chicken, man. I sang El Shaddai in the kitchen when I was barely past my "I'm pretending to be a boy, please call me Jared" phase. I crushed on David Meece, Russ Taff, and yes, hello, Carmen. (Come on, those curls! The sinister eyes! The voice-overs!)

Nevermind the Sandi Patti cliche, I had Michael W. Smith in an argyle sweater vest and a poodle perm. I had Steve Taylor's haunting prediction that the world would end in 1990. I went to war with Petra, and when Greg X Volz split off, I bought his solo debut. On vinyl, naturally.

I wore those records straight out.

I could drop a needle like a seasoned pro when I was still on training wheels.

By the time I was 12, I had my very own record player, which I introduced to my extremely conservative grandpa via Stryper's To Hell With the Devil.

I loved records.

You might have called me a Record Fanatic.

So how is it possible that a word so ripe with meaning and nostalgia could have inadvertently fallen from my personal vernacular without me even realizing it had gone missing? How did I unwittingly betray my first love?

Those pops and skips meant something to me. True, cassette tapes eventually won me over, but only because they were more portable, by way of my ten pound boom box.

Now, here I find myself, an accidental refugee in the digital age.

I feel something like Calvin must have when he spotted his first pay phone then laughed sardonically as we explained that you put money in it and call people.

My obvious reaction to all of this generational upheaval is to swing wide in the other direction, renewing my vow to my humble flip phone, clutching paperback books to my bosom. I shall never own an ipod! A blue tooth? Sounds to me like a personal problem.

You'll have to pry my CD collection from my cold, dead hands. I won't bear this shame twice.

But please don't bring my camera in to this.
Some technological advances really are sacred.