The Hamptons


karen amster-young :: The Desk Chair Chronicles


Recently it took 31 e-mails to arrange my monthly dinner with college friends. This e-mail ritual is repeated every 30 days. When did scheduling became so complicated? We are armed with an endless amount of addictive technology that is supposed to be simplifying our lives — Face Book, Twitter, instant messaging; our Blackberrys are filled with calendars and appointments and networking sites such as LinkedIn – all intended to connect us with colleagues and friends. But really, what has all of this done for our quality of life? I feel like I am in an intimate relationship with my Blackberry and, despite instant connection 24/7 at the touch of a button, I am spending less time doing and more time planning. Aren’t we all a bit exhausted from it? Life is undoubtedly complicated; but when did planning online replace actually doing and being in the moment? Yes, the dinner with my friends happily took place but to plan it took more time than the shared meal. I’m not suggesting we don’t need or want this technology. But isn’t it time to just let life happen again?

Remarkably, just when I was about to throw my Blackberry out the window of my high-rise building, life just sort of happened: Without one email, Google search, or phone call to a babysitter I found myself in Central Park watching Carole King, live in concert. It just happened. My husband, daughter and I were having dinner at our neighborhood restaurant with good friends and their two kids and, just as my daughter was about to complain for the 100th time that her Nintendo DS was losing power, my friend’s brother called on her cell phone. She hung up, turned to me and said “Carole King is in Central Park.” I thought she was teasing me because of my obsession with the aging icon and my perpetual unsuccessful quest to see her in-person. “No really,” she said. “She’s there right now!” Although slightly amused at our excitement, our husbands watched as we ran out of the restaurant and within 10 minutes we were standing in Central Park.

Magically, Carole King appeared on stage – great long curly hair blowing in the air and a huge smile on her wise and famous face. Despite her use of crutches to walk to the piano, she kept smiling and began playing the renowned classic, “You’ve Got a Friend.” Soon, the familiar lyrics filled the air and my friend and I found ourselves belting out every word, enduring stares from incredulous “twenty-something” concert-goers who were waiting for other, more current, artists to perform. It was a great moment; and it just happened (with a little help from a cell phone!). Perhaps we all need our technology sometimes since I heard later that my daughter was cranky about her Nintendo the rest of the evening. I just hope it doesn’t make those “Carole King moments” completely disappear from our busy, technology-driven lives. I fear spontaneity in New York is hobbling around on crutches these days; it’s time to try living without them again. I am sure Carole will be without hers soon enough.

Karen Amster-Young, formerly principal of Amster-Young Public Relations, Inc., is a freelance writer living in New York City. She lives with her husband, Ben and 9 year-old daughter, Alison. She continues to work as a public relations & marketing consultant specializing in the home/design and food and beverage industries. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including magazines on the East End and she has an exclusive column on called The Beach Chair Chronicles in the summertime. She can be reached at karen[at] for comments & inquiries. lifeguard stand

December 14th, 2009 Posted by | Desk Chair Chronicles | no comments

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