Tuesday, May 20, 2014

there's an app for that? really?

Yesterday, I went to the bank to conduct some financial business. I sat down across the desk from a scrubbed and pleasant-faced young woman with neatly-combed blond hair. We chatted through the business I wanted to conduct and managed to splice in more personal notes, not least because I like knowing something about the person I am talking to.

The woman had worked at the bank for 17 years. She liked it. She and her husband, who sold industrial windows, lived up in the hills on a farm populated by cows, pigs and chickens. She grew up in the country, she said, and liked living there. I said I was in awe of farmers whose lives were 24/7, 365 days a year. There was no room for excuses on a farm: The cows needed to be milked irrespective of sniffles or sprained ankles or funerals or bouts of melancholy.

The woman said that, as a little girl, she had wept as she begged and pleaded with her mother to take her shopping for an outfit at some city department store: The kids in school teased her because of her home-made clothes.

I never did find out if she and her husband had kids.

Anyway, we did financial business and spliced in some personal information and when we shook hands at the end of the meeting, her handshake was warm and strong and, from where I stood, honest. An open and straightforward person -- someone worth knowing. Nothing sissified or glorified or pretentious. I liked her.

Today, I read a news story about the current dating game and the uses to which young people put their Internet devices ... the applications they used as a means of scoping out the possibilities.
One young woman, Melissa Ellard, 23, was quoted as saying:
When you are using the app, you get to look at their picture and see background information. You get to decide whether you want to continue it or not. When I meet someone, I want to know everything about them before I go on a date with them.
"I want to know everything" and the everything I want to know is based in trusted sources like Facebook or other Internet rap sheets. "Everything" can be found by relying on the Internet: I'm too busy in my life ... I can't be bothered with failed attempts ... I want to win ... and not waste time... and have fun ... and have my deepest desires met ... all the time. I am willing to trust profiles written by the very people I might like to meet ... as if, even when they made their best effort to be truthful, they would or even could tell "everything."

I didn't want a date with the woman I talked with at the bank, but I did come away from our meeting feeling as if I had met someone worth liking and trusting. Who knows what I might have thought if I looked her up on the Internet. The social chasms created by 'social' media like Facebook just don't strike me as particularly desirable.

I realize it's not an either-or proposition, but still, I'll stick with conversation and a hand shake.

1 comment:

  1. What is reliable in any given situation? No idea. However, since I first heard it, I have continued to like the Russian idiomatic expression, "doveryai no proveryai" meaning "trust, but verify."