Monday, August 31, 2015

Loss of Sense

Sometimes time seems frozen.  I'll see a picture of a friend or acquaintance that I've not seen in person for decades and their image from days past is fresh in my mind.  It hardly seems like years since we last hung out or saw one another.
If the person means more than just a passing friendship, the effect of stopping time seems more vivid.   Perhaps a defense mechanism, or another manifestation of holding on to something ephemeral.
The technology we now have incorporated into our daily lives adds to this phenomena as well as creates additional twists of reality.
Scroll through a host of Facebook posts or even a lengthy list of Facebook friend pictures and experience most of the people in your current and past life all flashed before your eyes in a mass of slideshow moving parts.  Most likely most of these people know a limited few of the other faces they are on this moving billboard with.  Yet the juxtaposition of their smiles and grimaces makes for a fascinating kaleidoscope of humanity.  A few tinges here and there too, no?
To this add the realization that some of these folks you probably will never see again.  And that's OK too.  It's that particular phenomena of our internet age where we are closer than ever, but really just as far away.

I experienced this in another way a few days ago.  Looking forward to watching American Pharaoh run in the Travers Stakes, I cleared the day and set up my computer.  Of course I don't have to go to a race track any more to follow the sport.  Even a smart phone will let you place a small wager and watch the race, albeit on a two inch screen.  I refer to that experience as having a race track in your pocket.
Saturday began with all the excitement and anticipation of Derby day until a power outage forced my day at the races onto the I Phone.  While I momentarily felt rescued from the dilemma, I realized in a profound moment what was missing.  No smell of cigar smoke, no mustard or crowd roar.  No seeing the thoroughbred dancing in front of you.  Thoroughbred racing is one of the most intimate sports for the fan.  Getting close enough to talk to the jockey or see a horse saddled with nervous owner and hopeful trainer (or is it the other way around) is easily done at most tracks.  So, for the convenience of watching a televised race and interactive betting, we must sacrifice most of the sensory experience that is such an important and aesthetic part of the sport.
True it is still possible to go out to your nearby horse track.  But with out the throngs that only show up on the biggest days, you might as well just stay home.  So much is missing.

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