During a road race in the past year, I was startled by another runner pulling up beside me, rasping between breaths about what mile he had just passed, how he felt, when he expected to finish. Chatting me up, or maybe some sort of verbal self-motivation technique? Then I realized: he was phoning someone during his race.
That memory no longer seems startling, or even odd. On Facebook and other online venues I find myself increasingly discovering people tweeting, texting, and posting their race experiences while they’re on the run. And it’s not just running: The New York Times recently ran a story about Tommy Caldwell, one of the world’s best rock climbers, who updated fans around the world about his progress while climbing El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.
What were once solitary experiences, valuable confrontations with ourselves, are being self-published into a sort of global theater-in-the-round. One person quoted in the Times article, Katie Ives of Alpinist magazine, said that “instead of actually having the experience be the important part, it’s the representation of the experience that becomes the important part … something is lost.”
How long will it be before: “Tuff sesshin so far; enlightenment ahead #superbuddha.com”?