Pastoral scene, digital experience

Jun 28, 2011

One day a couple of weeks ago, on a day that she usually stays home with Oliver, Erin learned that an important hearing was happening in a Raleigh courtroom and she needed to be on hand to represent a client. So, I took a mid-morning break from work to drive home. Erin headed east, Oliver went down for his morning nap, and I settled into one of the stools at the kitchen counter with the new iPad2 that the Department of Medicine had issued to me.

For two hours, I read email, New Yorker features (now that I can download any issue to the New Yorker app, I have much less need to keep the stacks of old print issues laying around the house) and the stream of tweets by those in my network of friends, ScienceOnline community and social media mavens. The house was still, the neighborhood quiet, and I was lost in the ether(net).

Erin arrived home before noon. I gave her a hug and kiss, and got in the car for my return drive to Duke.

I drive the back roads to and from Durham, and on this day, the fields of hay were a lush green, the Duke Forest trees a cooler shade, and the air just buzzing with life. I soaked it all in, and just as I was thinking how different this natural experience was from the previous two hours of digital stimulation, I passed an intersection where two cars had collided, their drivers standing separate and each talking into a mobile phone.

That’s an anomaly, I thought. Something’s wrong in the code.

I may have seen The Matrix a few too many times.

Anton Zuiker

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