Agenda | May 14,2022
One of the days last week was poised to be a relaxing time free from worries.
I had my daily share of skimming through different platforms on social media. I compared the perspectives of two or three outlets for the same content about national and international issues, mainly referring to technology.
I stopped at a historic photo page that I have been following for years. The page was a place to share historical images among members, yet, it had nothing other than reposted photos. Most are posted from smartphones, comments from viewers with similar gadgets, lacking well-thought reactions from accounts with labeling terms of belittling or self-endearment.
I had to leave my house to attend to an issue at the Kebele office in the heart of the city, right after the bi-weekly dry waste collection crew completed their work and left the neighbourhood.
As I reminisce about the days when the crew used horse-drawn carts and how far they came through the years- a significant change with the heavy-duty dry waste compactor truck, a young girl from one of the alleyways appeared with a big-sized bucket full of mélange waste and emptied the content at the clean neighbourhood.
It was a token of what nowadays is the hallmark of waste disposal in Addis Abeba. It is as if there needs to be a tip-toe sign leading to the waste dumping collection point that reads “throw the waste away” and "to the waste dump”. It seems there is a long way to go.
A disturbing and annoying paradox threatened to spoil my day, but passing by the area associated with community get-togethers in the neighborhood was enough to sway back my mood with its “I cannot wait” holiday vibe.
I pondered and found it hard to determine why the young girl could not heed the alarming bugle call of the collectors. At the same time, it jingled a wake-up call in my mind, whether we likewise have the appetite for addressing what is happening in our vicinity.
To top that off, an ambulance driver in a hurry approached and asked me the location, known by a specific name I did not recognise. I learned later that it is very close to my house and that the driver had proceeded in the wrong direction.
I came out to the main road posing the question to myself.
Where do the boundaries of the vicinity I live in, start and finish? I had no idea.
The countless people walking grabbed my attention, taking me back to the thought of social media as most of them were busy on their smartphones, not paying much attention to their surroundings. The means through which we receive information nowadays are overstuffed with what-we-want-in-the information tailored to our search history or what others want us to have because we have been following them.
The level of dependency we have on our gadgets is alarming. It is a wonder how we keep up with it all. At work, school, social and personal lives all seek validation on social media. The people and pages we follow must oblige to the things we hope to have and achieve lest we miss out.
The internet has become a significant part of our daily lives. So too has social media.
I asked myself whether the quest for more online social connection meant less connecting with existing relationships and what mattered most in our immediate surroundings.
Mobile phone screens are not suited for long text reading, torrents of smartphones fit small talk, and easy-to-make views are foregrounded to appease our audial and visual senses leading to social media obsession. That is without mentioning the pile of daily selfies as tokens of vibes from the sender and its many receivers. It has not much to do with our daily lives.
On my part, even if there were severe incidents in the proximity of where I live, it has always been challenging to locate. I posed a question to myself as to when was the last time I had been to the vicinity office. It is very long ago. I also wondered if any earthly hall could accommodate any meeting to assemble the residents.
It is time for the administration to assess its prevailing essence as what is deemed appropriate behaviour and responsibility of residents needs to be addressed.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 07,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1184]
Agenda | May 14,2022
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