Sunday, February 17, 2002
The Plug-in Society
Spring and I were talking about moving. Okay, so we are still in the throes of a move so it's not a conversation about moving from were we just moved. No, we were talking about moving in general and why it seems that so many people we know just up and move to a new location, usually far away from where they currently are.
Me, I'm having trouble moving less than five miles away, and here I have friends that have moved cross country, some more than once! Then there's the paternal side of my family—I have three aunts (Dad's sisters) that all live within two miles of the home they grew up in, and the youngest sister lived in the same house with her husband and two kids for fifteen years, so staying in one place seems to run in the family as it were.
Spring seems to think that most people (of our age, maybe a bit older) are of a “plug-in society,” which is a concept from John Brunner's book The Shockwave Rider (which incidently, is considered the first book in the cyberpunk genre of Science Fiction). Our culture is so homogenized that one can pick up and move from Seattle, Washington to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and not feel out of place. Even though Seattle and Ft. Lauderdale are over three thousand miles apart, they are very similar—similar stores, similar restaurants, similar weather.
Okay, so we don't have a billionaire software mogul living here in Lower Sheol, but we do have a billionaire garbage mogul with a taste in baseball teams and video store outlets in the form of Wayne Huizinga.
Okay, so maybe there is no difference there either.
It might very well be that since there is no difference between Seattle or Ft. Lauderdale or Los Angeles or Boston then does it really matter where one lives? Or perhaps it could be the perception that life would be better in New York or South Bend or Houston so why not give it a try since the three or four years we've been here has shown this city to be just another homogenized suburban sprawl or rural backwater town or faceless urban monster of a city. Or perhaps given the relative ease with which we can move gives rise to the “plug-in society.”
Or all the above.