Saturday, 17 December 2016

Girl, Unconnected

I am going on and on about connectedness. Maybe because most mornings while I am trying to get daughter ready for school and absorb some of the news before Milkshake takes over the tv set, husband descends down the stairs and sticks his phone screen into my face to show me some important moment/photo/joke his friends shared on their special whats up page. He does it to me when in town together as a family, which happens about three times a year. He talks to me about friends' problems while I am trying to use the moment he is away from his computer (works from home) and find out what to do about car servicing/diy emergencies/daughter's stuff. He makes me feel like much less important person. He takes daughter out and I can see her running down the street, him hunched over phone. When she does something nice or funny he tries to film it so he can share it.

I do often say that if I want something done I should whats up it to him. The problem is, I am not on whats up. I do not own a smart phone. The one I have could theoretically connect and work the app but I can not be bothered. Phones are for calls. I like to use camera for pictures, too. And an alarm clock - no phone in the bedroom (or on my side of the bed). I am a dinosaur, I know. Sometimes husband accuses me of cruelty towards him. Do I not want him to keep in touch with his friends? In his very difficult cushioned 21st century life he struggles to keep friendships alive. He misses his dear friends. Do I not want him to film daughter for grandpa? If you want your close knit family and tight friendships why do you move across the world, I ask. Years ago in Cape Town, he would call his dad in Durban twice a month and see all his friends for 'gentlemans' dinner' once a week plus ocassional weekends outings sometimes spoiled by presents of wags. They used to have real interaction. Now they share 24/7 and even those who still live in the same town can not be bothered to physically show up unless is big birthday/wedding/christmas party.

It takes me back in time to the dark ages of my youth which was pre mobile and pre internet. Internet grew up alongside me. I saw the beginnings. I used to visit internet cafe once a week to check mails and had a list of things to research, too. It was enough. Now I couldn't live without a broadband at home. But back then, I could have some secrets. I see girls making money through social media and I think it is great that they can utilize the technology like that. I watched documentary about call girls who function solely through some special website and I am glad that they can do what they do without any pimps or brothels. When internet went mainstream, sex exploded and it wasn't only porn. However, I spent enough time in the night clubs' world to miss the old enigma of it. To see girls to strip or to sleep with you, you had to go and find them. As a customer, you created a story about yourself. As a girl, you did the same. I knew many wives, mums, nurses, who substituted their income with prostitution in small clubs and private flats. I met strippers who travelled the world and their mums and partners thought they were working in casinos, modeling, doing 'proper' dancing in dance clubs. You could keep secrets back then. Owners of establishments weren't interested in big promotions, too. They wanted very little information available on them. And the girls could function absolutely differently in the daytime and chose what information about themselves they would share with the world. Nobody could google us back then.

It all changed. Not only the underworld, even the modeling world, which I frequented, too, is ruled by online existence. In my years, you would get your 'book' and go to castings and try your luck and hope to be in a magazine and make a name for yourself. Today, if you don't have online army of devoted followers, you will not get your lucrative contact. And for the underworld, you dad is only three clicks away from finding out what really pays for his little princess's rent. It is a two edged sword, it can lift you up, make you and liberate you, but it can also undo you if you are not wise about what you post about yourself. Or if you do not have control about what is posted about you, how images of you, taken with or without consent, are used. For me, I am glad I was there at the beginning and I am proud to be a dinosaur, happily unconnected. And I really don't care what my nearest and dearest have for breakfast at any day of the week.

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