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The other day, while  I was in San Francisco enjoying some sight-seeing and picture taking,  I became intrigued with the large number of old streetcars along many of the routes in town. It felt like stepping back into time. A time when streetcars ruled many of the large cities of America and the world. A time when community meant riding the public transit, newspapers in hand, holding box briefcases and wearing derby hats. The times sure have changed!

The proliferation and production of cars has sky-rocketed. Public transit in many places has collapsed. We now carry Ipad's in stead of newspapers and briefcases, and our derby hats are long gone for the most part.

Community now means, texting, chatting, Facebooking, e-mailing, You-Tubing and Skyping. We drive to work by ourselves in our own cars and our biggest interactions throughout the day usually involve interacting through computer screens.


Community has become a technologically driven machine and for those unable to keep up, it can feel almost isolating. It's easy to get caught up in that world of checking your Facebook status, your e-mails, constantly trying to stay up with the latest and greatest, but it can also lead to a little fatigue. Sometimes you just want to unplug the world, go outside and sit under a big shade tree and count the bugs, birds, and blades of grass.

For me, walking around San Francisco for a day was just like that. I unplugged from the digital world and recuperated in the real world. Sure there is noise and smells and stressful moments, but that's life, raw and alive. Sometimes we forget what it's really like out there. We build little eggshells around ourselves to insulate us from the outside world. But when you step out of the shell and into the world you feel more alive.

Community is an important aspect to human development and understanding. By nature we are social beings and we need human interaction in order to feel and stay healthy.

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By Benjamin DuBose. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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