Apr 3, 2012

Soulless Autonama

A trip to Atlanta
Is there a human being on duty here? Anywhere?

- Got Gas @ self-serve pump, swiped card

- Hit the Thruway: paid tolls thru EZ Passs lanes all the way down (slowed; never stopped)

- Parked in Newark Int'l Airport lot: the toll gate machine gave me a ticket

- Took the monorail (no human operator on board) to the terminal

- Checked in via Kiosk: it verified my reservation, I picked my seat, I checked a bag

- Went thru security: I actually semi-interacted with a human; although no words were spoken by either of us. Just an index finger waving me thru the x-ray

- Got a coffee thru a machine; waived my card to pay the $3 charge. It wasn't bad!

- Made phone calls, checked email and did some graphic design work while waiting at gate

- Checked monitors for flight info: on time departure scheduled

- Boarded plane: the first verbal 2-way interaction of the day was a "hi; thank you" followed by a "welcome" from my end. Eyes never met

- Flew to Atlanta: the guy next to me zoned out with his Kindle and ear buds/music; he never said a peep

- I was dozing when drinks were offered; so I never interacted with a flight attendant

- Arrived @ Atlanta: rental car was waiting with my name on the sign in front of it, the keys in the ignition and my paperwork on the seat. I never had to go near anyone. Just adjusted the controls and drove off.

- Checked-in to hotel. Yes, you guess it: automated kiosk verified my reservation and dispensed the room key

- Met a pal later in the 'burbs. She must have thought I'd been an island castaway for a year, given my joy in actually engaging in real life / real world human interaction. If we were counting, we'd no doubt conclude that she directed more words in my direction in her very first sentence than I had received from everyone else combined @ the rest of the day. A day which started in upstate New York!

There's a snapshot of the modern American on-the-go dynamic. I dealt with more machines than I did people.

Of note: the next morning, as I was making my way to my appointment on Peachtree, I had my next human interaction of the trip. A homeless man hustled me up for "breakfast money." Now there's a function that hasn't been automated yet: panhandling!

Maybe it's time for a brain trust retreat, where we can figure out a way to change that?

A Skype conference, of course...



Bill B said...

Show this to my wife. She thinks my business trips are all fun and games.

Kimmy said...

Knowing how you like to talk to peep's, this must have been hell for you!~~~~~ lol