The Medium is the Message

by Nicholas Felix L. Ty

two ways to get in
the first one is easy
the second takes
a tad bit more work
either way
click or input
passcode may be required
automatically generated
you’ll probably get it wrong the first time

the rules of etiquette
took some getting used to
to the extent of
embarrassing words
or worse
a careless visit
to the bathroom

a month into this
we’re experts
seems like we’ve been
doing this for ages
once intermittent sojourners
now seasoned travelers

the key is
keep a low profile
audio off
video off
lurker mode

if on deck
wireless earphones and mic
highly recommended
ring light optional
(mandatory for the vain)
maintain reasonable distance
from the screen
and above all
if determined not to shower
wash your face

there is even a photo-op
a Brady Bunch grid of sorts
where you must smile for all the shots
cause there’s no way of knowing
in which one you actually are

makes us wonder why
we had to go through
so much trouble
for routine conversation

kilometers traveled
from home to work
now reduced
to the few steps
from bed to desk
you can even log in
right after waking up
just remember the rule
on not showering

three meetings a day
come and go
where two
was once pushing it
the agenda is maintained
the points are made
we discuss the very things
we’ve discussed before

yet the message is not the same

it seems we’ve lost
some of the things
we take for granted

small talk feels weird
when everyone else is
part of the conversation
even if they don’t want to be

the five senses
once all engaged
reduced to an essential two –
seeing and hearing
the rest are foregone
since words can’t be
smelled, touched or tasted

the coffee brewing
in the corner of the conference room
or the colleague beside you
with her favorite perfume
the breakfast pastry
that comes with the coffee
or the working lunch
in case the meeting takes that long
the handshakes and the high fives
the nudges and the shoulder taps
or the mere reverberations that travel
between proximate human beings

the audible and the visual
are not unscathed
when intermediated by technology
hearing someone’s voice
is not the same as
hearing it on speaker
looking into someone’s eyes
is not the same as
looking at their image

high fidelity
cannot compare to
a live orchestra
the shadows in the cave
cannot compare to
the originals we once beheld