We didn’t go to the fireworks tonight.
Maybe I should be more accurate. We didn’t go to sit among the crowds watching the ‘official’ Fort Wayne fireworks display. We did, however, watch the Boston Pops Fireworks spectacular, and we have been listening to and seeing fireworks around town and around our neighborhood for several days.
So we have an incredible range of bright shiny things to see, but we are taking the incredibly passive approach to them: not buying any ourselves, not sitting in the bugs and crowds, watching what other people are doing and watching them mediated through television.
It could be because I’m getting old(er) (a year and a few days short of fifty). It could be because Hope didn’t care to go out, and Andrew and Allie are taking care of themselves. It could be because there are too many lights around (I ‘m a purist: let me lay on the ground right under the fireworks, so there are no streetlights, no building lights).
It could be, however, because the sheer volume of available fireworks which are legal to shoot off in the city makes them not nearly as special as they used to be. If anyone can buy them, and anyone can shoot them, and the noise becomes an ever-present nuisance, then what makes the display so special? I’m afraid that I’m getting jaded about fireworks.
I’m wondering whether this same proliferation of media, of opinions, of entertainment alternatives, of social network platforms is making me (an others) increasingly jaded about opinions, software platforms, and “really incredible solutions.” There are constant flurries of new ways to connect, distracting us from actually being able to spend the time actually connecting. We have so many options of things to read from each other that we don’t have the time to treat them with the respect and dignity and reflection those ideas deserve. The pace of creativity and the fear that we will fall behind means that we stay engaged until we are exhausted.
As a result, I wonder, do we treat the incredible sparks in each other with the same nonchalance that I am having toward fireworks tonight? Unless the show is huge (like Boston’s), I’ll just get annoyed at the noise. Unless the ideas are huge (particularly entertaining or shocking or frustrating), I don’t stop and think about the people, the close friends and possible friends, that lie behind the smaller ideas.
I’m not against fireworks. I’m not even against everyone having them. In fact, I think that there is something cool about the family and neighborhood involvement in doing little displays. But somehow, the craving for experience can’t take us away from the relationships. Sometimes sparklers are really fun, especially if a kid can use them safely and likes them more than the really loud explosions.
I know. Maybe my ears are just getting cranky. But let’s not make our attempt to create bright shiny verbal sparks and glittering platforms make us forget the people around us who aren’t very flashy. But who ARE the point.
Okay. I’ll stop talking to myself. Thanks for listening in.
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