Allison Plean: Coffee talk |

Allison Plean: Coffee talk

Allison Plean

My roommate’s cell phone is partially broken. She can make and receive calls but cannot hear it ring, see the display, retrieve phone numbers or exploit caller ID.

This can be devastating to anyone in our technologically advanced society.

The plague of cell phones and consumerism already has claimed more victims than World War I and II combined.

We wouldn’t have five Starbucks in our town if most of us didn’t give them business.

These days, my life feels like a pile of receipts, and there isn’t even a shopping mall within 150 miles of Steamboat.

I assume that most of us moved here for a simpler lifestyle — one not governed by huge billboards trying to sell us something every time we get into our sport utility vehicles.

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I tried to boycott major companies such as Blockbuster, but then City Market closed its video rental department. And I don’t have enough time to make Netflix worth subscribing to.

I am amazed that there always is a line at the Starbucks drive-through. I only know this because I’m sometimes in it.

Although Steamboat residents make an effort to walk, ride their bikes and take the free bus as much as possible, we still will have Hummers rolling down the street. And we still feel lost without our cell phones functioning at maximum capacity.

Technology breeds new ideas at a ridiculous rate, yet our society takes generations to re-evaluate prejudices. Only since Generation X came out of the closet did we begin to think about accepting the gay/bisexual/transgender culture.

Our society still blames victims for the crimes of power and control committed against them, and patriarchy probably always will dictate our last names. The list of incredible injustices suffered by most of the world’s population is too long to list.

At least environmental reform is beginning to make noticeable progress.

We are using less Styrofoam and have embraced recycling, but where are our disposable lifestyles going? As we strive to be healthier by drinking more water, we throw away more water bottles.

My parents’ generation grew up without computers and color TVs. I grew up without the Internet and cell phones.

I could listen only to records and cassette tapes, but now, I barely can remember my frustration with brutally scratched CDs before I got my iPod.

Even our definitions of words have changed. Pirates have become people who steal music, not scary old men missing a hand. Grills have become metal mouthpieces in rap videos, not something on which we cook our artery-clogging burgers and hot dogs.

The generation gap gets larger every year, and every year, we get closer to being taken over by robots (OK, maybe I watched too many ’80s movies).

In college, we all sat in coffee shops trying to figure out how we were going to change the world. Some of us tried.

But as Wal-Mart enlists us into supporting child labor with enticing price breaks, where do we draw the line?

Our community was founded on wide open spaces. We cannot stop Walgreens and Starbucks from setting up franchises on our manifest destiny. But we can accept our consumerism-inflicted weaknesses, and we can try to not drop our cell phones on the encroaching asphalt.