Tech and Me in the times of COVID
Since the day the shelter in place order came, my days started looking different. Normally, I would start days at 6 am in the morning, hit the gym some mornings, leave the house for work at 8:30 AM, carry all the luggage for the day’s activities and be back home around 9:30 PM — 10:00 PM ish. These would be the weekdays. Weekends would usually be action packed, either a drive somewhere or events and planned dance shoots with my dance group.
Between work and dance, stopping at Starbucks for coffee and penning down dance routine for the day’s session. It all worked like a well oiled machine and I loved my routine. Meeting a lot of different people everyday, and number of “hello”, “hi” , “how are you doing?” interactions , doing activities and projects together was fun.That was a lot of outdoors.
Then comes a day when California Government announces shelter in place order for controlling the spread of COVID-19. I have never spent so much time at home. This is the time I yearn for human connections, I long for in person interactions with real people, social media feels hostile. I started looking at technology in a different light. I am old school, I love watching 70s and 80s Bollywood cinema. I love seeing how people worked with files, no computers, how people queued at a bus stop after 9–5 work shift and did not Uber pool to home. Even in the times when youtube is one of the mediums to learn new things, I prefer joining classes and learning from a human teacher in person.
When I lacked human connection, I started looking at technology in a pessimistic way. I didn’t like having a screen between two people always.
I had frequent arguments with my partner over how technology is taking the human element away from people. The social away from social animal. All this while I was actively using apps like Doordash, Uber Eats, Whatsapp, Zoom, Apple Pay, Facebook and many more. I had become so cynical in my thought process towards the use of tech in this day and age. During the times of COVID, tech is praised for keeping people connected and together, but being a person who enjoys meet and greet interactions, I could not see why.
I took some time to reflect on this and look at it from a different perspective. Thanks to Whatsapp video calls, I can see my nieces and nephews grow up and witness their excitement when they show all their DIY projects to me even though we are separated by 8000+ miles. Virtual family reunions can happen and my 90+ year old grandparents have a chance to see all their 14 great grandkids. Sometimes they ask “Are they all together in one place?”, their ignorance is so adorable. Thanks to Doordash, my food cravings can be satisfied and it comes with an added bonus of economically helping local restaurants and the dashers. Paypal enabled me to financially support in my capacity the causes that needed help in this testing time. Facebook marketplace helped me to decorate the space in my home by up-cycling the products available for sale and doing a small bit towards planet earth. Zoom helped me to still keep dates with my dance group. Gmap helped me to deliver masks to people who needed them.
To conclude, I feel, technology is for sure assisting humans to be of help to humans, but whether it is bringing people closer or pulling them apart by playing the middle-man , actually middle-tech, in human to human transactions will still be an ongoing debate between my partner and me.