Friday, August 24, 2007

I’m so lonely I could cry...


If you are old enough, you might remember that line from an Elvis song. Fortunately, I seldom feel that particular pain. Hubby, kidlets, other relatives, church folks and my work-out buds are enough companionship for me. Too much, sometimes.

But there is a new kind of lonely out there, and you’ll find these folks online, parked in front of a television with no “off” switch, or both. They’re the ones who sign up for emailed political newsletters, shopping newsletters, dating services, the latest releases from their favorite publisher of erotic romances, and even “breaking news from Elvis.com.” Yes, the king has been dead for thirty years, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some sort of news that the lonely can enjoy. The lonely can also tell you what’s going on with Paris and Britney and Branjolina, but they aren’t gonna volunteer at the clothing closet or sign up for Ladies’ Night Out at church. They’re too “busy” or too “tired.” When trouble comes their way, they consult Dr. Phil online or email their prayer request(s) to strangers, since there is no one else to ask.

Addiction is a term applied to folks who over indulge when using drugs, alcohol, or even food, but it really should be applied to those who have decided to deal with loneliness via an over indulgence in media. Sociologists are warning that despite the increased means of instant communication that people are becoming increasingly disconnected from their immediate world. Yes, we’ve heard about the dude in China who fell over dead, after non-stop gaming at an internet café so long that he starved or something. Most people’s problem isn’t that blatant, but parents can’t be parents if they’re too busy watching the screen to watch the kids.

How about you? If you’ve got hundreds of emails each week in your Yahoo account, but you don’t actually know these folks, if you buy your clothing and jewelry from QVC, if your lover exists only in the pages of a romance novel or in an email from True.com, and if you know more about Nicole Richie than your neighbor, you may be suffering from this post-modern phenomenon.

And the worst of it is, you are so lonely....

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