One of my favorite soundtracks of all time is Songcatchers. I love the movie and bought the album as soon as I could find it. The movie was released in 2000. As hard as it is to believe that was before the days of the iPod.
The iPod was actually released in 2001. I was leading Apple’s federal sales team at the time and as manager of the year, I won one of the first ones off the line. I still have it but it has never become a big part of my life.
As I was leaving the beach the morning of July 31, 2013, I stopped briefly to shake some sand out of my crocs and noticed a young lady not far away. She seemed oblivious of her surroundings. Though I could not tell exactly what electronic device had her attention it was pretty close to the size of an iPhone which I guess has taken the place of iPods for most of the younger generation. I actually felt sorry for her as I turned and left the beach.
There she was on a beautiful beach with warm ocean water, soft sand, and blue skies. Her electronic gadget had her full attention. Now I am as guilty as anyone of playing with my smart phone on occasion, but I hope Dr. Bogus, our local surf expert, or someone else with a good aim will hit me in the head with five ounces of lead if they ever catch me plugged into an iPod on the beach.
I have a passage in my book, The Road To My Country, that pretty well covers my feelings on priorities when it comes to electronic devices.
In those days there was no television to tell me that I needed something else. Television came later, first to our neighbors, the Fixes, then to Aunt Sally, but it was not a big part of life. We watched Howdy Doody, but still the fields and forts owned us. It was far more important to dam the creek running through the woods or chase some lizards than it was to be inside watching a small, noisy, black and white box.
I guess that I was lucky to be sent off to military school. In the evenings we had study hall. The only television you could watch was in the canteen during the thirty minutes after study hall and before bed.
Those of us who live here on the Southern Outer Banks are very fortunate. Most of the time it is hard to turn around without seeing some beautiful scenery. Certainly we get some days which are not crystal clear in August and early September, but for the most part when it is not raining this area is so beautiful it is hard not to focus on the scenery.
Maybe I am an anachronism, but I can look at the same thing every day and notice something different from the ruffled waters on Raymond’s Gut to the changes in the sand over at the Point. When I am not doing that, my mind is usually churning away on a few ideas.
I enjoy being connected with my friends and sharing pictures with them, but part of our over-connected world sometimes does not make sense. According to Foursquare I was last seen on our dock on June 17. That might have something to do with my decision to ignore Foursquare. The time I spent on it was getting in the way with my life. I have been pretty busy since June 17 and I have not missed Foursquare one iota.
I try not to worry a lot on my Crystal Coast Life blog. Typically I use it to extol the wonder of life here on the coast with posts like Life Without Walls which I wrote after an inspiring trip to Hammocks Beach last summer. If I worry about this next generation, it usually ends up in a post like It Takes More Than Tweets on my View from the Mountain blog.
Still this summer, I have seen more people than ever walking on the beach with their ears hooked to their iPods or iPhones. It seems like sending texts on phones is a viral disease. I hate to think texts are going to replace story telling. My wife sometime accuses me a taking a germ of truth and spinning it into a tale of historic proportions. She might be the last one who will notice since most of the rest of the people seem so plugged into their phones that they would be unable to argue with me about how big the waves are or how blue the sky is.
I promise to get back to focusing on the Crystal Coast’s beauty with my next post, but I have to wonder why these folks come to the beach if they do not use their senses to appreciate being in one of the neatest and most beautiful spots on earth. I am positive that there is no text message that can adequate describe the wave picture which I snapped. Certainly most people in my generation appreciate that the sound of the waves is something to appreciate not hide from with an iPod. You only get to hear real waves and feel their warmth when you are walking the beach.
I guess that I am proud to be a wave catcher even if the surf did push me around a little when I was fishing and snapping a few pictures on July 31.