Typically when we’re talking about zombies we imagine decomposing human bodies fumbling around and chasing anything with a heartbeat, preferably normal human beings who still have a pulse.
As frightening/exciting as that idea may be (a lot of us imagine life like Zombieland), I feel like there is a new type of zombie. The worst part of it, they’re already here. The zombie epidemic is right here right now.
What do I mean?
For as much as I am online on my laptop, my close friends know that I try to steer away from a lot of technology.
I don’t own a television, I don’t own a “smart” phone, my car doesn’t have automatic windows or locks, I don’t have a tablet, I don’t have a Garmin or TomTom or anything like that.
My old “dumb” phone at the moment has a broken touch screen, randomly turns off and is literally taped together with packaging tape. (duct tape didn’t last as long in regards to keeping a phone together, I tried) It’s been falling apart for a couple of years.
What does this have to do with the Zombie Epidemic?
Technology is spearheading the epidemic itself.
I’ve been wanting to write this post/rant for a while now and finally, I was sent over the edge a few days ago.
What is a zombie today?
Next time you step out of your house, take a look around you and notice what people are doing.
At least in America, a large portion of the population are with their heads down, trudging along staring at a screen of some sort. These are zombies.
The human race has succumbed to the digital era.
Have you ever watched the movie, Surrogates?
You should check it out. It takes place in the future and in this future we have created pseudo bodies that we control from the comfort of our own home. Nobody leaves the house, our surrogate self leaves for us. We stay plugged in at home and can feel and do practically whatever through our surrogate. Our electronic self is a facade for who we wish we were.
That idea of what the future can be doesn’t seem too farfetched to me.
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine recently. He asked me why I want to leave on my permanent backpacking trip so badly.
I told him that I’ve been back in the states for going on a year since my backpacking trip last summer and not once have I been as happy as I was then. The reason being is that people in Central America were still living.
They still interacted with each other and socialized without smartphones. I could meet new people and spend a day out doing things without watching anybody become infatuated with technology.
Also, whenever somebody did bring out their phone they would actually dial a number and call. I don’t know if Americans know that or not, but you can actually use a phone to make a call and have a spoken conversation. Crazy right? You don’t have to be limited by txting and trying to convey your information and tone across through typed out words! It’s pretty incredible, you should try it.
I came back from hanging out in Central America and some friends noticed that I wasn’t the happy go lucky guy I once was. I was asked several times why I was so irritated.
I wanted to catch up with friends and it was for the most part the same.
We we would meet up for lunch/dinner/beer/whatever. Not five minutes in, and out would come the smartphones.
It pissed me off. Social gatherings were no longer social gatherings. They became discussions on videos, celebrity news or funny quips a friend posted online.
Everybody around me was/is turning into a zombie.
That had been happening though. I had realized that before the trip. I’m not even going to lie, I would feed into it. I wasn’t busting out my phone (I can’t) but I would talk about it and watch the videos. blah blah blah
Part of it always bothered me though.
Things started getting worse. The more interconnected we’re becoming, the easier it is to just say no or not do anything.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been stood up last minute. This goes beyond the dating scene, I mean in general. I’ll be somewhere waiting only to be sent a txt 10 min later saying, “Sorry, can’t make it”.
Better yet, I’ve had people just not respond at all.
It’s easy to avoid people and social settings. We can just not do something. No biggie though, send a quick txt saying sorry.
This actually relates to what pushed me over the edge a few days ago.
We have some new neighbors. They moved in next door, probably around late last summer or so.
They seemed nice enough. They were productive fixing up the house and the yard. It seemed like they would be good neighbors.
Last week I pulled up to my house to see the guy next door and his buddy pointing at our trees, more specifically some low hanging branches. (I acknowledge they are hanging low and partially over their side)
I stepped out and looked at them, knowing exactly what they were talking about. I made eye contact and said “hi” waiting for a friendly conversation to ensue discussing the branches and when we would be able to get the tree trimmed.
With a dismissive “hey” they turned away from me and kept pointing and murmuring to themselves. This was a bit irritating.
A couple of days later a police officer comes knocking at the door, “Excuse me, there has been a complaint from one of your neighbors about the low hanging branches and some weeds that are in your yard. I’m afraid I have to issue you a warning.”
When the officer pointed out the same branches that the neighbors were pointing out it was obvious.
I was pissed. Our new neighbors filed a complaint when all they had to do was either mention it to me when I saw them the other day or walk a whopping 50 ft from their door to ours and have a discussion.
I realize this isn’t technology related, but it seemed all to familiar to how a lot of people are operating today.
It’s like technology has made us all a bunch of pussies.
(I’m sorry if that offended you, comment below or tweet me, we can cyber fight and act hard ;) )
Back to the digital zombie epidemic.
What the heck is going on?
What happened to the time we could hang out with some friends and simply enjoy each others’ company and personalities? We felt like friends and people that meant something in the lives of others. We weren’t left to sit there and wait as somebody finished sending a message.
What happened to the time when people would go outside and actually notice that there were clouds in the sky and a sun shining? Now everybody gets their neck sunburned while keeping a pale face as they stare down at a little device that we treat as a physical extension of ourselves.
What happened to the time when we fully committed to a time and place and actually developed real life interpersonal skills? I’ve had people answer the phone just to say to txt them instead because it’s easier, even though they had nothing going on. I have had great communication with people online only to have awkward meet-ups in person. (social dynamics is an entire other post I could rant about)
We all are already or are slowly turning into zombies.
Check out this scene from the movie Warm Bodies that came out recently. Start it at around 1:30 and watch up to 2:00, it’s a bit exaggerated, but it is exactly what I’m talking about.
Now I’m not trying to act holier than thou, I’m just trying to acknowledge what’s going on and hoping I can make a change. I entertain the lifestyle here and there. I’ve been txting somebody while with a group of friends and have asked their thoughts and opinions on the matter.
I want to stop that. I don’t want the disease to spread and more fully engulf me.
I invite you to join me.
Next time you go to socialize with some friends, turn your phone off while you’re hanging out. Enjoy the company of the friends you keep. Value what you physically have right in front of you.
Actually, the first time you try it, don’t tell anybody. See if you’re hanging out with zombies. Notice what goes on when you unplug for a while and spend time in the “real” world.
Let me know what happens or what you think about this zombie epidemic in the comments below.