Yesterday I was innocently working from home when my cell phone rang. The caller ID read “UNAVAILABLE” so I should have known better. But just in case it was someone from the office, I picked up and said hello.
“Hello?” a female voice replied. Then after a moment, “I’m so sorry – I was adjusting my headset! Anyway, I’m calling because you recently stayed at one of our resorts, and we have this offer . . .”
Oh, Lord. I let her pitch her absolutely fabulous offer, until she wanted to ask me a few questions. Then I said, “I suppose there’s a timeshare presentation involved in this?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you,” she replied. “Can I ask you a few questions?” I repeated my timeshare suspicion. “Can I ask you a few questions?” she said again.
I hung up. She was a robot, pre-screening before handing me off to a closer. But I have to admit I was fooled for a bit. They are getting better at this. Robot callers even deny they’re robots. Read an example here.
Which got me thinking (hey, it’s better than working, right?) about the new waves of technology that make virtual reality closer to “real” reality. Video games use the moves of real athletes who were wired up just for that purpose. An increasing number of movies are either partly, or completely, CGI generated. And new VR headsets are coming that will let the wearer participate in some incredible experiences. Say, simulating a mountain bike adventure on your stationary bike, riding a roller coaster from your couch, or even flying like a bird. Click here for details.
I find a kind of odd symmetry here with what else is going on in the world. With the country’s future and the world’s future more uncertain that ever, it’s natural, I suppose, for the visual and tactile boundaries between fantasy and reality to blur as well. How long before we simply sit in chairs all day living entirely in a fantasy world? (Perhaps we are now. Plato suggested that we were.)
But as we approach our country’s annual day of gratitude and overeating, there are a few things I can be certain of, and count on:
- I have the love of my family and can count on them supporting me no matter what, and that I would do the same for them.
- I can count on Skip and the Body Specs crew mashing me into the floor so I can get back up stronger than ever.
- I can count on pain, blisters, and bruises from running marathons and trail ultramarathons, and that I will treasure each one anyway.
- Our cats will continue walking on the books we’re trying to read, nagging for food when I’m trying to concentrate, and being an unending source of affection and comic relief. (Screw you and your feline hatred, The Atlantic; cats rule.)
- I’m certain that people will continue to say to me, “So I was reading your blog the other day…” when I didn’t think they knew I had a blog.
And finally, I’m certain that America will remain the land of the free and the home of the brave, as long as we remain brave enough to stand for what’s right. Our freedom was too hard earned to take for granted or let others try to diminish or take away.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!