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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :
Progress
by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Couple of items to cover this week. This being the week of Veterans Day, we want to be sure and remember those who have served or are serving to keep this country free. Just remember what you are reading isnít even allowed in some parts of the world. I donít mean my column, I mean a newspaper that is free to say what ever it wants to say and not be in fear of reprisals or jail to the editor and publishers. You and I might not agree on how the government is to be run, but at least we have the right to disagree. That right was paid in full by some veteran at some point in time over these past 200 plus years since this republic came into existence. Call up your dad, Grandfather, Uncle or son or daughter and tell them how much you appreciate them. Donít forget.

Here I am in the airport at Dulles airport in Washington D.C. waiting, waiting, waiting for my plane. When you have a chance to stop and look around at the folks in your area, you begin to notice a few things that are quite strange.

First off, everyone seems to be talking to themselves. Then you realize that a lot of people are now using a wireless headset to talk to someone on their cellular phone. So, you never know when someone is actually saying something to you or to their best friend or Aunt Martha in Seattle. I donít know about you, but I find it distasteful to be made a part of other peopleís conversations telling me things I donít wish to know. If Iím eating dinner, the last thing I want to hear is a conversation in the next booth or table about what some guy did at work or why Sally left Harry. In many cases, the conversations border on the macabre and Iíd just as soon not be a party to what they are saying. What happened to private conversations? What happened to peace and quiet at dinner or lunch?

Then you have the e-mail fanatics with their wireless computers and blackberryís. They canít seem to be away from whatever or whoever for more than a few minutes at a time. Have to check that e-mail in case I get another notice from those wonderful folks in Nigeria telling me that I am the recipient of fifteen million dollars left to me by some kindly, unknown missionary. I get over 100 e-mails a day, and Iíd say 5 are worth opening and reading, the rest are junk and spam. I donít need to check for junk and spam every five minutes. It makes me reflect on how did we exist in years gone by when all we had to conduct business was the United States Postal system and Ma Bell. I remember when fax machines came out and they were a really big thing, but you canít carry one of those around with you. We have evolved into an instant society in which everyone is expected to answer and respond in seconds, not days as it was twenty years ago. Sometimes I think progress isnít so great after all.

The airport is a wonderful place to study humans. You can see all types of people doing all types of weird things. Grown men playing computer games with the ferocity of it being the meaning of life and death. Itís a game, get over it. Read a book.

Iíd like to see some airline have a requirement that you must take an airline orientation course and get your passenger license before you are allowed to fly on their planes. I swear you would think some people think they are the only ones getting on board. These are the kindly folks who find their seat and then stand in the aisle arranging their luggage in the overhead compartment or looking through their bags for a book or magazine while the rest of the entire group of passengers stays by waiting for the aisle to clear so we can close the door and take off. These are generally the same passengers who havenít figured out that a bag measuring three feet by three feet just isnít going to fit into the overhead compartment, no matter how hard you try to cram it in.

Enough of that, I need a vacation since I can sense I am becoming too cynical. Where can I go and relax if I donít have to fly?

Have a good week; donít forget to thank a veteranÖ
© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
Letters From North America
- November 9 , 2005 column
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