Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nobody Goes Anywhere Anymore, We Just Transmute

Is "transmute" a word, or is it "transform"? My English is suffering, I'm afraid, after the year and a half speaking Spanish and the occasional pidgeon Quechua.

I am now physically in Berkeley, Ca. Yes these are my arms and legs and this is my head and I do believe I am all here in one piece.

Yet I go to this electronic box..and presto changeo..here are my friends in Peru, Argentina, Colombia! With all of their passion and problems and interests, just as I left them before. With You-tube I can even see them dancing or hiking or doing inane things around the house if they want me to.

In our electronic world, we don't go anywhere anymore, we just transform ourselves into bits and bytes, into emails or jpeg images or You-tube videos and do our work or hang out with our friends that way.
In Bolivia once, I traveled by bus with a 19 year old and reminisced a bit about what it was like travelling for me at her age. "Yeah," she said, her eyes wide like I had been to the North Pole and back in a bathing suit, "You traveled before there was email!"

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