The land of bears and Bluetooths | VailDaily.com
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The land of bears and Bluetooths

Matt Zalaznick

Who are these people shopping at The Home Depot with the little Star Trek phone pods in their ears? Are they really that important? Or have they just gone mad talking to the wall of screwdrivers?Perhaps they are so self-involved they believe that before anyone else on the planet, they will get beamed up first when the aliens come. I can only think of a couple of people who make decisions so vital they need to have a cellular phone plugged into their ears 24 hours day: A big-city doctor trying to treat a severe smallpox outbreak? A general directing the siege of a world capital? A NASA scientist dealing with an alien invasion? A pizza delivery driver? Ike managed D-Day masterfully without a having a radio wired directly to his brain. Hey, maybe if he’d had the capability to instant message, he would have made a rash decision or two that might have made the landing on Omaha Beach a little too bloody for the allies to press on toward Berlin. I’m not saying cellular earpieces would have led to Nazi domination. But isn’t it infuriating when you see someone yakking away into their headset while they’re also dealing with a cashier at the supermarket? I’d love to go around town with a crochet hook and yank the information technology out of their ears. Pay attention to the cashier for 25 seconds – it’s only harmless human contact. But rather than chat with someone in person, seems like some people prefer to hide out in cellular space, confronted only by a familiar if canned voice buzzing through the ether. When I run into someone attached to a little Bluetooth module or with a tiny headset glued to the side of their head, it’s like they’re telling me they cannot possibly devote their full attention to me. They can’t even spare most of their attention because the information that may come over their invaluable doohickeys – gossip? rumors? complete babble? – cannot be delayed by any trifle of the outside world, such as the car they’re cutting off in a roundabout, the underling they’re ignoring at the office, or the frothing brown bear that’s about to eat them. I won’t accuse everyone who wears a Bluetooth device of working toward the extinction of bears. But somehow, there doesn’t seem to be enough room in these mountains for both. I think it’s the Bluetooth, or at least the whole worldview behind the Bluetooth, the iPod, the subdivision equipped with wireless Internet, the space station – human progress, in other words – that spells doom for the giant predators. Maybe it’s not exactly progress that’s to blame, but the arrogance that comes with, and is perhaps essential to, progress: The idea that the universe revolves around us humans and that nothing, no matter how furry or ferocious, stands in the way of our desires. I don’t mean to be superior: I’ve got an SUV, a video iPod, a webcam, TiVo, a digital video camera, and a DVD burner. And I’ve got so many recharging devices I don’t have enough outlets in my house for all of them. In no contest with human desire – the search for more outlets, for example – will the bears come out on top. Simply, we need more and more room for more and more outlets, and the bears are in the way. So why do we get so upset when wildlife officers have to put down a bear that has been forced to invade our space because we invaded his? Perhaps on the exact spot where I plug in my camera-battery charger or you recharge your Blackberry, there once was a real berry bush that was food for bears. Multiply that by 50,000 residents of Eagle County and their hundreds of thousands of gadgets and that’s a lot of missing berries. Fat chance anybody’s going to trash an iPod and plant a bush. City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14620, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com. Check out his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOGVail Colorado


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