In my struggle to acclimatize to modern life, last week I shopped at IKEA and joined Facebook. Ask me how do I feel. In the past these experiences would have cost me tears and rage, but this week they caused amusement frustration and a graceful acceptance of feeling dumb.
IKEA will remain an experience I seek once every three years, just long enough for me to forget not to be tempted to buy all those cheap items in the large bins that don’t work by the time you unwrap them at home. Who needs stupid cardboard gizmos that are supposed to make your office more efficient and neat but don’t? I ask you, who needs picture frames that break before the pictures even slide behind the chipped plastic? Yet, in 2014 I will bring home yet another plastic storage bin for collecting my plastic goat cheese containers for plastic recycling. Because spending four hours in IKEA on a hot summer day with the entire population of Rishon L’Zion is my idea of fun, vacation. All by myself I chose a green chair (with a 2-year guarantee!), put it in my wagon, slipped it into my car and carried it into the house. The instruction book for building the chair has no words, only drawings. Welcome to the pre-(or post-) verbal world of IKEA. The picture-book-instructions are simpler than my five-year-old granddaughter’s paint-by-numbers.
Facebook is another story. One night I saw photos of all these people I hadn’t thought about in years. How did they get on my screen? Does Facebook take all your email contacts, put photos on them and throw them back at you? I said yes to everyone who wanted to be my friend. After all, I wasn’t the most popular girl in 9th grade for nothing. I knew how to say Hello in the halls and it paid off at the end of the year (Most Popular Girl). Now again I can be popular: 100, 1,000, 10,000 friends. In 9th grade, I wanted people to like me. Now I want them to read me. I joined Facebook so I would attract more readers to my blog. The Happiness Engineers at wordpress.com suggested this move. They know that saying Hello in the halls of junior high is not enough on which to build a sustainable life.
Do IKEA and Facebook represent the dumbing down of a civilization and the spreading of this dumbness to the world? Why do I buy chairs with a 2-year guarantee if my mother’s chairs are still alive and kicking after sixty? And a system that informs me that one of my friend’s cousins just wiped the tush of her neighbor’s baby, why do I read this? The dumbing down has already done irreparable damage to little me with my quiet upbringing. Woe is me. I am part of the modern world.