Is anyone else smitten with the sense of awe at the sheer changes in our lives caused by the speed of technology? What once was so new we now take for granted.

Bob Kalish observes life from a placid place on the island of Arrowsic (motto: You’re not in Georgetown yet). You can reach him at [email protected]

An appropriate example would be the ubiquitous cellphone; how could it have appeared so suddenly in our lives without me knowing it was coming? My relationship with new technology began when I finally acquired a cell phone and by the next morning the“smart” phone was introduced by the leader of the young army who invents the iPhone, and life has never been the same.

What happened to the sense of privacy when talking on the phone? When did people start walking around speaking into the air in front of them, speaking to some imaginary person invisible to the rest of us sharing the planet?

“I love you,” someone says to me as they pass by on a busy Boston street corner. “Love you too, man,” I respond. I would have called him dude but that word should not be used by anyone over 40.

Another time, another place: “Don’t tell anybody,” a passing commuter tells all in range of his voice.

Does it just feel like a major transition is occurring faster than our human capacity for change? Has the pace of technology outpaced our ability to take written notes?

Imagine what it was like before the internal combustion engine changed things forever. For hundreds of years humans and horses lived together. You built a house and you needed a place for the horse to stay. Without a place of its own, a typical horse would take too much room in the bedroom. Horses took you places and helped you plow the land and work it so you could feed and clothe yourself. All the horse wanted was his own bed of straw and all the hay he could eat. Today the attention we once lavished on horses we now spend on dogs or other pets. And technology fills the void.

Given that level of intimacy, why has there been so little literature or accounts of this great loss? Horse comes home from a long day in the field and finds his place in the barn gone, replaced by a home office. I mean, how long did it take for Farmer Jones or Cobbler Ed to join the future and tell the horse he’ll love his new home outside the glue factory, where he’ll be well taken care of right up to the end. In the words of Charlton Heston, “Soylent Green is us!”

How catastrophic it must have been when Bob’s Livery Service (All Your Horse Needs) became Bob’s Chevrolet. Groups of unemployed horses hanging out in town smoking cigarettes, neighing at passers-by.

The thing of it is, some of us (not including me, who is still preparing for the 20th century), find it difficult to make a smooth transition to the Technological Age. They tell us the modern world is vast, yet simple. There is no tomorrow and there is no yesterday and the present moment is hiding behind a thought that elicits either pleasure or pain.

And that’s about as far as we can go. A wise woman summed up the art of living thusly: Know that the thought of your mother isn’t your mother. The same could be said for horses.

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