Books-A-Million is a place that I frequent. I like the coffee. I dig the books. So, there I was, sipping my strong brew and stuffing technology information into my resistant noggin. It was then that I noticed a relaxed older gentleman with a John Deere hat perched lightly on his head sitting across the room from me. He was straining to see the title of the book I was engrossed in (later he told me I was talking to myself). I politely smiled in hopes that this would end the ever present possibility that conversation would happen. It happened anyway. I won't detail the conversation, but it was enlightening.
I forget things. I forget that everyone does not feel the need to check email every 15 min. I forget that sitting in front of a computer screen all day is not everyone's idea of a good time. I forget that real-time stock updates don't change the way some people live. James, the older guy, reminded me of that. Oh, he never stated it that way. He just mentioned that he never used a computer nor email. I was taken aback. He mentioned that he probably should get one and learn about this "New World". I encouraged him. I am not sure if I should have.
I wish I would have encouraged him to teach "This New World" a thing or two. Sure, we could use the internet as the medium, but we need this guy's voice. We need a bit of grounding. We need to hear about patience and slowness. This Digital era still needs teachers. No more Novell Wizards or Linux Professionals. Sure, there is a place for it. However, technology is encouraged. Old timers are not. They root us. They bring the traditions and depth that this era has yet to develop. So, the next time you see a person who looks like they are enjoying life in a quiet manner, smile at them. They just might enlighten you.
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