The Generation Gap

multitaskingHave been neglectful of Water, No Ice lately. It’s not surprising if you take into account the fact that I’ve started my new job as Editor of India Currents. But it is not the lack of time. I suspect that a little bit of efficiency in my workday would probably free up time for this community blog.

No, the distressing conclusion I’ve reached is that I just don’t have the mental space to handle two competing responsibilities at the same time. Call it bandwidth, if you like, though I detest the word. Both are creative pursuits and both are satisfying, so it’s a bit of a disappointment to realize that I can’t do it all, or at least do it all well.

And I suspect, therein lies the generation gap. Unlike the youngsters of today, who are at ease listening to music while chatting with their friends over the phone while tweeting, I get distracted even listening to  NPR while driving-to the point that I become a road hazard, only saved by overtime effort on the part of my guardian angels  or those of my near-victims. I cannot write if music I like is being played, since my attention gets diverted and I start humming along. I cannot read a book if the TV is on, one ear cocks to the sound.

I wonder if technology and the ease of its use has wrought evolutionary changes in the span of just one generation.  How else to explain the utter nonchalance of the multitasking teenager, whose earphones have evolved from listening devices to fashion accessories to body part in the blink of an eye? Kids today also appear to be born with a symbiotic relationship to their electronics, intuiting their use without instruction. I have seen 3-year-olds master a Nintendo handheld without any help from their (clueless) parents.

Dinosaurs of my generation will probably become extinct due to our sheer inefficiency,  as hiring managers start asking prospective employees not how many things they know but how many gadgets they can juggle at one time.  While we’re blundering around trying to decipher the arcana of those twinkling lights and dazzling screens, the next generation will have out-transacted and  out-networked us, all while conducting multiple conversations and receiving multiple stimuli.

Meanwhile, this dinosaur has an unexpected free day tomorrow which shall be used excusively for WNI. I’m not giving up the fight so easily.:)

Pic by Thom Cochrane under Creative Commons license.

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