Sunday, 27 May 2018
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Avenging the generation gap

By  May 12, 2018

“I must be getting old because I really don’t understand what I have just watched,” said my good friend as we left the cinema. I laughed. Although my friend is older than me I was in the same boat as him, “I guess I must be old too,” I replied.
We had just spent, or should I say lost, three hours of my life experiencing the latest superhero blockbuster. It is a movie, and the name is not so important, swimming in superlatives – explosions, more explosions, the most explosions. And to make matters even worse it was in 3D. I am old school. Give me a black and white 2D classic every time.

Of course on the drive home we started to reminisce. “I can’t remember the last time Hollywood delivered a good movie,” my friend commented. “Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany’s…now they were real movies,” he continued. Strangely enough even though all of these movies were made before I was born I agreed with him. The days that movies actually have plots are behind us. The plot for the movie we had just seen could have been written on the back of a matchbox and you would have room to write the names of all the actors. It’s probably a generational question.

Whereas people used to spend time reading actual newspapers, magazines and books now they only have enough time to read the comment under an Instagram photo.

I am old enough to remember the time when it was predicted that modern technology would mean that we would have more time to enjoy life. Robots will do our household chores, cars will drive automatically, the internet will mean instant communication with the whole world and travel will be quicker and easier than even before, (these have all come true) all of this will mean more time to go fishing, play football or walk the dog. In reality the situation is completely the opposite.

You will bank online or over the phone. Yes, but now we have our banks phoning us and nobody actually working in branches, meaning we wait longer and get harassed more. “Hello it’s the bank but before I can talk to you I just need to ask you some security questions,” said the monotonous voice down the phone to me a few weeks ago. “Security questions!!! You phoned me!!” I answered abruptly. Adding “I didn’t ask you to phone me…you can’t ring me if you don’t think it’s me.” Needless to say my answer fell on deaf ears, quite clearly English sarcasm was lost of this bank clerk. And while I am on the subject of dealing with institutions over the phone I feel the need to mention T-Com. So this is a phone company, a communications company. So how ironic that every time I call I am greeted by the same message, “All of our agents are busy at the moment we are doing all we can to answer your call.” Doing all you can?!? Here is one thing you haven’t tried, picking up the phone? “All of our agents are busy as soon as an agent is free we will answer your call,” bleeps the digital voice down the phone. When you say all of your agents do you really mean both of your agents!

Why is it that when I want to fix a problem with my MAX-TV I have to call a dozen times and wait for what seems like a millennium but when I owe the bank 6 Lipa they find the time to call me. I guess we will be banking over Instagram soon.

The world is slowly going mad. Facebook have opened an online dating agency, a President is only communicating over Twitter and I am measuring how far I walk everyday with an app. I saw a headline the other day that summed it up perfectly “Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can't you put it down⁉️” Its true. If we were being honest with ourselves then we would agree that the smartphone in our pocket is making us dumb and boring, but it is more addictive than heroin. So when I leave a cinema with a friend and he starts to think back to the good old days my mind starts to wander.

Of course we are thinking of our childhoods with rose-tinted glasses but I have to say I’m glad I am not a child today. The pressures today of being online must be immense. Getting just the right selfie, the best profile photo or writing the “wittiest” comment is crucial for this generation. And I, for one, feel sorry for them. “Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs,” once wrote Steve Saint, (but for the younger generation he wasn’t talking about leaving a story of Instagram).

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