1/6/06

To Boldly Go?

There was a time when explorers would venture out to sea, aimed toward an uncertain horizon, equipped with little more than a few trunks of rations and a working knowledge of how stars move across the night sky.

Nowadays I get twitchy running errands without my cell phone.

The NASA astronauts managed to fly into space, land on the moon and get back – with less technology than you'd find in this laptop I'm using. And yet I feel absolutely paralyzed if said laptop ventures out of range of a wi-fi internet connection.

How have we allowed our modern conveniences to turn us into such pansies?

I swear: blazing a trail, touching the void, cutting oneself loose from the bonds of mortality just ain't what it used to be.

Then again, some feats of exploration nowadays just seem kind of... doltish. While it's all well and good to be the guy who casts his steely gaze off into the distance and says, "If I'm not back by nightfall... just wait longer." (...And while I have always and will always envision myself as That Guy), there's a growing concern in my mind that the era of the grand adventure may be just about over.

Are there any stones still unturned? Any trails untrodden? Is there any conceivable reason (excuse?) anymore for a person to jaunt off into the wild without at least taking some kind of precaution?

Hillary scaled Everest without titanium pick-axes, without kevlar safety rope, without gps-derived trail maps. But to do that today, when all that stuff is available...?

Is that tough, or is that dense?

I'm not answering because I'm afraid I know the answer.

You can still climb Everest. You can still swim the English Channel. You can still trek across the Sahara, just to say you did it. But there's no good reason anymore, not really. Even the boldest fellow must admit that there exist helicopters, and boats, and jets, and high-speed internet lines that more or less render such feats as little more than stunts, undertaken to accomplish nothing but proving one's own bravery.

Real men aren't supposed to show off.

So what are we left with?

Anybody got any errands needing run? My cell phone's fully charged...

8 comments:

wendy said...

First step is to maybe run the errand without a mobil phone, just as a test. To see what happens.

Sharon said...

Isn't it still an unknown adventure if you've never done it?

Thomas said...

I'd be proud of you and think of you as an adventurer if you'd start a novel. That would be a first step everyone's waiting for.

Luke said...

Colin... I think the future is populated with strange, new experiences that mankind has yet to face. You simply need to think bigger. How about being ravaged by a cloned herd of mad sheep? That's just one possibility. Or what about skydiving backwards with an anvil and a live trout tied on a cord that is attached to your inner ear drum? The future is bright and mysterious indeed.

Wake up man!

penelope said...

Crappy post, m'dear.
There are plenty of adventures to be had. With or without cell phones.

Jan said...

I think people had more adventures when there were party lines. You could do more because you have more time. Man, I hate people that come in Starbucks to be waited on and are blabbing while you stare at them for their order. Then they blankly look at you like you're supposed to read their mind, and their mind's on something else anyways. Then they say "sorry" and starting blabbing the minute they grab their drink. Just venting.

Colin said...

I read somewhere recently that coffee shops are solely responsible for the hectic pace of our modern life. Something about how most people didn't attempt to multi-task nearly so much before each and every one of us went everywhere with a cup in one hand. It's like, once you're drinking and walking, or drinking and talking, the floodgates are opened for people to never again be satisfied to be doing only one thing. I suppose it's probably a chicken/egg thing... you could blame Starbucks, or you could give them credit for embracing a phenomenon. Personally, if we are gonna point fingers, I think cell phones are at least as guilty. (As you've seen.)

Jan said...

yeah, who invented cell phones?