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A Different View

Technology brings us closer to a world without people

Dave O'Connell

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We are moving inexorably closer to a world without human contact, where you can carry on most of your day-to-day business without ever laying eyes on another face.

It’s all down to the internet of course, the device that has turned our lives on their heads, the tool that has opened up frontiers that we could never have imagined.

But does that mean we have to shake off lifelong habits as though they were something unpleasant stuck to our shoes?

The banks want you to do your business online, and even if there’s still a bank open near enough to you to patronise, there will be ATMs and automatic lodgement facilities that will still deprive you of human contact even when you’re close enough to reach out and touch it.

The big grocery outlets and supermarkets are refurbishing their stores to increase the self-service tills at the expense of those manned by staff – that’s of course if you don’t do your shopping online in the first place.

We used to go to record shops to browse through the LP’s – now we buy albums that don’t actually exist, except as a download stored on a cloud and requiring nothing more than the physical presence of a computer.

One of life’s great joys is to wallow in the escapism of books piled high and wide in a bookstore – but now you can click on your Kindle and download a paperless version of a new novel without leaving your bed or couch.

You may have been prompted to purchase your online book because you’d just read a review of it…..on a digital version of your old newspaper, read on your iPad or Nexus.

And chances are, if you are invited to a wedding, the happy couple will have a present list on some top store’s website, where you go, click on something in your price range, and pay by credit card.

So you’ve bought a present you’ll never see with money you’ve never handled – and you’ve spoken to absolutely no one through the entire process.

All of this is wonderful in terms of the freedom it gives you to shop for the best price, to order something in the blink of an eye and to avoid parking charges – not to mention rain – to carry out transactions at the click of a mouse.

But is that the only measure?

It’s terrific to avoid the long queue out the door of the bank on a wet Friday evening, waiting behind someone who has ten transactions to make as you’re double parked on a street with its own traffic warden.

But when you got to the top of the queue and encountered the friendly face of your local bank – the teller, as opposed to the suits who bankrupted the country who never meet with the public outside of the golf club – then you enjoyed a bit of a chat as to where you were off to on your holidays and what was the best way to break down your foreign currency.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Authors’ pot luck – or insight into predicting a terrible future

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s eerie how some people can appear to have an ability to see into the future; forecasting an event or a phenomenon, years – sometimes even centuries – before it comes to pass.

Much was made this year of a number of books and movies that anticipated what we now know as the Coronavirus pandemic; predictions that even led to renewed interest in publications like Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year that goes back to 1722.

Edgar Allan Poe described a fictional epidemic at the centre of his short story, the Masque of the Red Death.

“No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution.”

More recently, Albert Camus’ the Plague explored the human toll of epidemics back in 1947 – and of course, the end of the world has been the subject of more movies than almost anything else.

But that’s not really suggesting they have some incredible insight into the future; Dystopian plots or backdrops are almost standard fare, and the spread of some toxin or virus is the easiest vehicle for writer’s to plot.

That doesn’t mean the reader or viewer isn’t stopped in their tracks when they come across a piece or a film that appears to have predicted the future.

One such slim volume that fulfils that brief is really just a long essay, entitled Here is New York.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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