On the Road,on a Social Media Fast

I was on the road.

Kind of like Jack Kerouac.

Except I had maps and guidebooks. Everything on the trip was carefully planned, except reality. And I was on a social media and e-book fast for a week.

I did not miss electronic devices. I was pleased to skip photo ops at crazily huge gloomy castles and beautiful parks. I tried to look at what was in front of me. I’m not used to it.

At night, I read my book.  But during the day I saw even more people on their phones than usual.  No reading.  Lots of selfies  I ran into a woman’s selfie stick.  Now that’s a little mad.

Not that I’m a Luddite.  And I don’t mean to sound preachy.  But I started thinking about selfies, e-devices, and the fate of the book.

A few years ago, in the canceled TV show “Selfie, ” Eliza and Henry, near the end of an electronics-free weekend at their boss’s house, find high ground with a phone signal and are immediately relaxed, hunched over their phones.

The characters have modern-day equivalents.  Eliza has millions of followers on YouTube but can’t relate to anyone in the real world. Henry, her colleague, has good manners, though he is awkward, and scandalized by her behavior, tutors her in how to behave outside the imaginary worlds of Twitter and Yelp. When Henry learns that Eliza eats lunch standing over a garbage can because no one in high school would sit with her, he buys a special wastebasket for her and they eat lunch in his office standing over their respective wastebaskets. (Yes, “Selfie” is a modern “Pygmalion.”)

However, we are so tuned into e-stuff these days that perhaps we can no longer laugh at “Selfie.” It was both silly and poignant for the few months before the network canceled it.  Anyway, I was apprehensive about reading my book at a cafe last week when everyone else is on the phone. Perhaps reading a book is now the equivalent of eating lunch standing over a garbage can. Certainly I made haste to stuff my book into my bag when I saw there were no books in the cafe.

And then this happened. The cover of my old paperback fell off. Yup, I had to buy a book or three to replace it.

More on this later.

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