Connected Globally, Isolated Locally.
When I woke up this morning I turned on my radio, as I often do, to listen to the news and try to make sure I have some knowledge of and connection to what has been going on in the world since my eyes were last open. Today though, before the news, I heard an editorial piece reacting to a study which found that the greatest concern held by residents of Vancouver is the growing sense of isolation and loneliness they feel. It ranked above homelessness and other social issues, above taxes, and bike lanes.
This really surprised me. I had always sensed that, in general, the people I know and see around the city try to be socially aware and are compassionate to the troubles of others. The amount of isolation they must feel to rank it as their number one concern must be incredible. I will admit, I have felt that isolation. It usually subsides after a brief pity party and the realisation that to end my loneliness I could just call someone, or go for a walk down The Drive (there are always people there, and some of them are even willing to talk to strangers without looking to get something from them). However, that is, for some strange reason, easier said than done.
I have found myself afraid to call friends, good friends, for no real reason. We won’t have had a fight, we might have even seen each other in the past few days, but I have felt that I might be bothering them. I’ve read many articles stating that technology has crippled today’s youth because they no longer know how to have a conversation face to face. I wonder though if it isn’t so much not knowing how, but being afraid of rejection, it is much easier to have a thick skin, or show a brave face via email, text, or social media sites. And everyone always looks like they are having such a good (or at least dramatic) time in their photos and status updates, it would be pretty easy to think: “Why would they want to hear from me?”.
I think when people hear about the Canadian Frame(lines) project they immediately think about the ‘long distance’ aspect of it, about connecting Canadians from opposite sides of the country and from very different lifestyles. That will happen, and it is something that is very exciting, and feels quite dramatic to think about, but it isn’t really that special — people do it online everyday. The part of the project that I find the most alluring, and that in the end may bring the most benefit to our country, is the connections that will be forged within the communities we visit. Through the workshops on Super8 shooting techniques and hand processesing, during the filming processes, the screening, and the discussions that come after, these people will connect with each other. They will connect with the people they see on a daily or weekly basis but never say more than a few words to. They will connect with their neighbours and old friends they’ve grown apart from. And out of this, maybe they will feel a little less lonely and a little more ready to reach out the next time they see someone lost, confused, or just in need of an ear to listen.
Happy 1st Day of Summer everyone!