A Father's Son

FIELD JOURNAL N3, May 30 2013

The metaphor of the circle of life is real.

Once we were children. And now we are parents.

At some point in your life, the children you have known from Day One become your teacher especially when we are confronted by the challenges of this new world we call cyberspace.

Or, wide wide world.

Or, Internet.

Or, whatever that you call this invasive species of knowledge whose humanity I sometimes doubt.

Or, resist in the name of the older one I am capable of manipulating.

When you are reared with Olympia typewriter technology--with a discipline to use its magical keys the proper way you learn from the Young Men's Christian Association one summer day--you have to give up with all those new things on the Internet coming up everyday of your life.

Truth to tell, the cyber natives, my son included, do not even know how to use the keys properly, some of them forgetting that they have ten fingers, but amazingly, able to touch their screen keys faster than those with one second/word speed on a typewriter.

These new apps about every new thing in the world are really destroying our sense of who we are.

These are palliatives to our inabilities for human communication.

These are substitutes for everything that we sorely want but do not need at all.

Or so you protest.

So your son who you travel with brings you to all those fancy cellphone stores in the heartland, and convinces you to have your century-old iPhone opened you have a Philippine line that uses that fancy promises of a century-old iPhone.

They slaughter your gadget, take out all those cute pieces you do not understand what are these for in the first place.

At the back of your head, where the hell did they learn all these tricks and trade to open a cellphone that is not theirs in the first place?

And you have to pay them for doing that too!

So you were convinced.

You can use the camera. You are sold to that idea.

You can use the video. You are sold to that idea.

You can email. You are sold to that idea.

You can Skype. You are sold to that idea.

You can Viber. You are sold to that idea.

Of course, the son threatens you with all kinds of Internet threat that, in capsule, simply means: incommunicado.

And so you close your eye, forget about that young man on a motorbike slumped on the street pavement that leads from C5 to Cubao (in the Pasig area), and immobile, almost dead, except for that tragi-comic ability to use his phone.

Slumped on the street pavement and surrounded by kibitzers and waiting for the turtle-like metropolitan ambulance to come, he raises his hand and uses his phone!

I could only say one word: Jeez!

And so yesterday, at a fancy cellphone store with twenty people attending to five clients at a time, I allowed myself to be persuaded to have my phone butchered, its foreign sim removed, and its new heartland sim inserted.

And lo and behold, you have a heartland phone, man!

May 30, 2013

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