Driving with Modernity

The technology of this generation is, at times, unsettling. Apple culture. Tablets. Apps. It’s all kind of weird, but completely commonplace. We’ve fully accepted these things as not only normal (this, of course, is the natural progression) but constantly desired. We want these things to encompass every aspect of our lives. Our technology doesn’t have a “time and place” it is the time and place.

Think about it-isn’t it slightly disturbing when you’re watching a film, totally immersed in it and the world of the characters, and you see an iPhone, or watch a person use Tinder? For me, this provides an awareness that removes me from the story. I think this is in part because none of these things provide a “timelessness” feeling. It makes it apparent that the story is only relevant to this very, very specific time in human history. You can’t ignore it-you are forced to notice the branding (The latest installation of the Jurassic franchise is a good example of this). You don’t notice an actor is on the phone in a particular scene, you notice he’s on his Samsung Galaxy s6.

But, I digress. This post is actually about my Uber driver hitting on me at the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Whenever I get into an Uber, I clutch my smartphone and I’m happy to have a ride home. I am a millennial that is benefitting from the culture my generation has created for me-doesn’t mean I’m ga-ga in love with it though. The consequences of our creations are just different than previous decades, and part of the problem is we aren’t really equipped for the repercussions. We don’t know how to deal with it yet because we simply haven’t yet.

So, what do you do when your Uber driver expresses he would like to, if he could, “drive you around all night just to be with you.” Or that he, “could hear you talk all night baby.” It’s sweet (I guess?), but awkward. I mean, I was shoving a plain double cheeseburger in my face just trying to get home to cuddle with my roommate’s dog.

Is this funny because it’s my Uber driver? My friends certainly thought so. But, then, I thought what if I told the same story, but it was a cab driver? Or my bus driver on my daily commute? Then it’s a different story. It’s not funny or cute-it’s creepy. I came to the conclusion that because Uber is associated with hip technology that youth identify with, this behavior was deemed acceptable and made a good story. And is this fair? Probably not, but that’s how culture seems to be painting it.

I participate in the inventions of my generation, but I think there’s worth and value in evaluating them every once in a while. Like a juice cleanse or a hot yoga class-you can handle it every once in a while. So, every once in a while you should take a step back and think about what technology is doing to this generation, where are we going right and where are we going terribly, terribly wrong?

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