The Technicality

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In the digital age it’s very easy to get caught up in the mechanics of things.

We salute Jobs for revolving his life around technology and making our journeys to work far more convenient as we swap cassettes for shuffles. However, we now grunt in the face of a phone call. We clap at a WhatsApp. Even Skype has become far too personal. Social interaction of the flesh is becoming less frequent, but you know that already. Now, it seems that when it comes to matters of the heart, we are detaching ourselves from emotions as easily as we like a photo of a dog in a pink panther suit on Facebook. This is where I find that our advancements in thinking technologically, runs the risk of being dangerous and, at times, downright degenerate.

Although I can see the plus side to making things compact, what I can’t do is sit back and watch people’s moral choices being belittled to the same importance of finding a phone charger that fits their iPhone 5. More and more frequently I am hearing the excuse that people have “technically” done nothing wrong. This, technically, means nothing as there is nothing technical about hurting someone’s feelings. The presence of that “technically” immediately eradicates morals, loyalty and responsibility, and replaces it with a pathetic excuse for basically being a bit of a rubbish human being.

Us hiding behind technicalities, in both the technological and metaphorical sense, worries me. I think we’ve started to make like Windows by shutting down and rebooting when things get tough, but this systematic approach is not fool proof and I think that when something hurts you for real it will knock your system for six. The words of an internet troll are nothing in comparison to that very real sinking feeling that you get in your very real stomach when someone hurts you with their very real words.

We’ve become far too used to the convenience of the undo button to eradicate many of our troubles in life that we forget there isn’t a software in the world that can fix feelings.

And it’s at this point, you’ll realise what friends are for.

The Family

When Harper Lee wrote that “you can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family”, she was, well, pretty much correct.

From school to university to the office, I’m sure you’ll all agree that friends have come and gone, and while the precious few will still be hanging around eating chips with you on Tottenham Court Road at 4am, you can only truly rely on your family one hundred percent.

Why then, do we find them so unbelievably embarrassing? Taboo almost?

My household appear happy. I’ve heard people say countless times that we are the perfect family. And although generally quite content, this makes us laugh to a great extent. My dad and I clash over TV timetables, my brother thinks it’s fine that he hasn’t lifted a duster in 25 years and my parents bicker over old people things such as who is making the next cup of tea and who ate the last bit of cheese. This is the “normal” stuff that I’d admit to, of course. The rest of it will be shoved firmly in the vault under the stairs that we have willingly thrown away the key for.

Hopefully you aren’t now questioning whether my dad is a spy and me a drug baron. Instead, I hope that you are nodding in at least partial agreement, much like during that blessed moment in the best of friendships where you are sitting there at two in the morning, sipping on leftover wine from dinner, when someone confides in the group that something is not quite right at home. And then the floodgates open. Not pathetic tears of a clown caused by too much Pinot Grigio, more like a lot of talking. Be it money troubles, divorce, affairs, drugs and even just a petit argument, everyone begins to nod their head in appreciation and knowing because something very similar has, or is, happening to them.

And if they aren’t, they’re lying.

So why do we find it so easy to gossip about our friends sleeping with the enemy and the awkward moment between “Sarah” and “Jim” at the pub last week? Because we are not directly linked to them of course and it’s therefore no reflection on us as their companion. Contrary to this view of our friend’s stupidity, people consider their family to be some sort of mirror-image of them. And one that we should hide should it be a little cracked.

A friend of mine’s family are channelling The Carpenter’s and have set up a band together, another’s mum once force-fed me home-made peach schnapps at three in the afternoon and another’s grandma once wore a hat made solely of faux-penises to a “P” party. If they were my relatives, I’d be mortified. (If you’ve met my mother you’d know that’s a complete and utter lie). But it’s only as I get older that I’ve begun to realise that embarrassing family members make a four-hour-long christening that little bit more exciting and Christmas Day so eventful.

So if you’re worried about your boyfriend meeting your great aunt dotty who is never to be seen without a glass (bottle) of gin, just remember that you probably ‘ain’t seen nothing yet.

Wait until you meet his half-uncle Richard, he’s a treat.