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Island Fever: Life after nut rage

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: We live in a complicated day and age. With our lives revolving around “selfies”, our very existence is punctuated by snapshots expressing extreme delight. Sadly, most of these moments seem to occur only in cyberspace.

One recent event that is testament to how quickly our world can about-face is the Korean Air “nut rage” incident involving Heather Cho, a former top executive for the airline. Now facing a one-year jail sentence, one has to wonder about the high price she paid for her antics.

I’m not a huge nut fan, but get me into a serious vodka-tonic session on an empty stomach and my appetite turns to that of a wild dog scavenging for even a small peanut or one tasty cashew. Though, really, one is never enough and – yes – it is indeed the loneliest number.

My morning sleep today was interrupted by the announcement about Apple’s new smart watch. It is a watch that, according to its promoters, is the pinnacle of “watchdom” – the smartest timepiece ever invented. All I did was stare down at my bare wrists and wonder why I should have to devolve a few decades and be burdened by this “singular handcuff” of the modern age.

Technology is supposed to enhance our lives, allowing us to muster up more time for the arts – perhaps a quest for the meaning of life – or bear testament to the world’s great religions. Instead it’s become all-consuming.

Sure, digital detox is a fad, but, like McDonald’s, tabloids and drugs we secretly want to inflict on our bodies, technology invades our every-day lives with sensational information that is supposedly life-altering. Breaking news? What a charade… How to hashtag or trend a celebrity happening?

I am not ashamed of my attraction to the weird, arcane and cheesy. As of late, I have taken my
television viewing to those reality shows about people who get off the grid and go live in the forest – get back to nature. Yes, the pioneering spirit is intriguing; yet these families all have bad teeth, can hardly string a proper sentence together and for all practical purposes, seem to be stark raving lunatics.

Could they use an Apple smart watch? There is little doubt, as unwanted a bed partner as it is, technology also seems to be a necessary evil – like having a dental checkup or visiting the in-laws. Still, as I stare back at a life lived both tech heavy and tech light, the reality is that in a virtually enlightened existence our basic needs, wants and passions remain pretty much where they always have been.

We love the glitterati, the celebrity gossip and checking out new things. What has changed is the speed – what is now collectively here today, is gone tomorrow. I’m not sure I want an Apple smart watch, and yet, something deep inside me says that I must have one.

Though I have no plans to move to the Alaskan wilderness, I do intend to fight this primal urge and, at the end of the day, there is little doubt that my spirit will be preserved.

As for the bartender standing so near, and yet so far… “Can you pass over that bowl of nuts please?”

— Bill Barnett

 

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