Dear Diary:
There’s a great party out there; I’ve just got to find it.

Like everyone else today, I worried about the Kord Campbells. I can’t have been the only reader who felt that this family of four was as metabolically unprepared for the long-term onslaught of the Internet as Native Americans were for “firewater.” Maybe everything will work out. Mr Campbell is evidently a producer of viable businesses, something that very few Internet addicts can claim to be. But it’s hard to push aside the sense that he and his son have some painful rehab time ahead.

In the middle of a chat this morning, Megan told of doing a fair amount of clucking when she encountered a mother with a stroller in one hand and a cell phone in the other. (I see this every live-long day up here on Planet Yorkville.) Then she saw a second mom doing the same thing, only this woman was carrying one of her children in a sling. A sling and yet on the cell — this did not compute for Megan. (I can attest that carrying a child in a sling is so profoundly satisfying that I can’t imagine wanting to trash the experience with the noise of a phone call to someone who isn’t there.) When I mentioned all of this to Kathleen, however, I was surprised to hear her take the part of the other mothers, whom in her predication were stuck at home day after day (as Megan is not) with infants and without adult contact. Point taken. But I’m still appalled by the people (and, up here, they are mostly women) who want to turn my sidewalk into their living room.

In short, the Internet bristles with manners issues. But they’re not like the old manners issues. The old manners issues were all about code, about knowing how to cue your awareness of comme il faut. That’s why the earnest boomers of my generation agitated against manners on principle: by the time the Fifties were over, there was nothing but code to good behavior. It was all a matter of signalling. The underlying objective of providing comfort to one’s companions had been forgotten.

(If it hadn’t been for Trollope, I’d never have understood what being a gentleman was all about, and why it’s so important to be one — even if you’re a woman.)

I’m sure that Kord Campbell sees himself as an active entrepreneur, as someone who acts upon the world in ways that lead, inter alia, to million-dollar start-up sales. I would propose, however, that he learn to regard his dependency on manifold Internet connectivity as a passive, almost hydrostatic search for the most satisfying environment that the Internet can provide. I would urge him to replace this cosy project with a determination to make the room in which his body finds itself lodged the most interesting place in the world.

Something tells me that Brenda Campbell is ready and waiting to help him do just that.

One Response to “Dear Diary:
There’s a great party out there; I’ve just got to find it.”

  1. George says:

    Being here, truly here, is always best.