Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Luddite And The Techno Geek

I am a Luddite. I am a techno geek.

Today I caught the bus out of town. There was something wrong, and the automated ticket printer/dispenser wouldn’t work. So the driver reached down and got out a book of card tickets – so old the colouration was breaking down – and a pair of metal punch-pliers, and did the tickets manually. (He gave me ‘his’ side – for records – rather than the customer’s side.) It took longer, but, far from getting impatient and complaining, all of the passengers loved it: a little trip down memory lane.

The old card tickets had soul that the paper strips lack. The paper strips get scrumpled up, stuffed into your pocket, and – hopefully – thrown into the recycling bin. And the card one will end up there too; but not straight away. Everyone took theirs away as a momento of the journey: a souvenir of the everyday trip, of the ordinary, that helped us view the ordinary with fresh eyes.

It reminded me of Steve Taylor’s thoughts on spiritual tourism and the role of souvenirs as potential take-away resources for those on a spiritual journey [chapter 5, the out of bounds church?].

On Sunday I’m flying to Dallas on a five-day trip; and on that journey I shan’t have any physical tickets at all, but e-tickets. Just as the Luddite in me loves [the tangibility of] card bus tickets, so my inner techno geek loves [the intangibility of] electronic plane tickets…Immanence and transcendence…

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