One-on-one interaction tops technology as Isaac strikes

Television, cable, Internet, three-dimensional radar, iPads, tablets, posting, texting, tweeting and turning to the latest technology, whatever that might be at this moment, are wondrous communication tools.

Those gadgets guide our daily work and play. From Louisiana, one can see a live sunrise in Stuttgart or chat with a cousin in Cameroon.

Because of technology, we are able to toil 24-hours a day from almost anywhere around the globe and everyone is expected to always be available.

With a single keystroke or verbal command, what once was science fiction has become everyday reality. That is, until something disrupts an invisible signal or electrical outlet that energizes our high-tech complacency.

A week before Isaac had officially formed into a tropical storm, digital photos, graphics and guesses were being sent around the globe.

Spaghetti models offered silly speculation as to what this new graphic really meant, while the weather formation entered the Gulf of Mexico.

Ultimately, Hurricane Isaac – only a Category 1 storm – made landfall and demonstrated how nature still holds power over mankind’s advanced accomplishments. For nearly two days, a high front prevented the storm from blowing through, testing levees, storm preparations and locals’ nerves.

Smartphones went stupid. Cell towers were jammed or completely shut down. Electrical service to thousands of residents was out. Even many landline telephones were rendered useless because analog operation is a thing of the past.

The exchange of news was relegated to battery-operated radios, which helped catch what weather reports could be secured, other than personally observing the wind and rain outside one’s back door.

When the storm’s eye passed over Terrebonne Parish, many residents emerged from their hiding places, unaware that the second and more severe half of the event was yet to come.

Then a strange thing happened. Individuals, who had never spoken to one another because when their paths crossed they were busy being plugged into technological devices, began holding conversations.

They waved. They surveyed damage. They checked on one another. They shared resources. They even talked about the weather.

For a few hours, those of us who remember when it was normal to personally know one’s neighbors by name shared common ground with those who do not remember a time when music videos did not exist. All were surviving without technology.

The electricity returned. The new normal was restored; yet for a while, when we needed one another in the midst of a storm, people were actually acting like people.

We have not determined if that expression of humanness was simply necessity or, if when nature disrupted our lives for a few days, we somehow remembered how to communicate without artificial assistance.