More and more I watch the demise of the world as I know it. My children google everything, and I am not sure who will inherit my dictionaries, which I love above all things inanimate. I may be forced to make a big pile one day, and burn them on stake, a gigantic bonfire. They will go with dignity in flames, victims of heresy of modernity. They have served us well since Gutenberg invented print. But not anymore. Gates and his technoable cronies will do my dictionaries in.
And from now on I’ll have a covenant with Google. I won’t ever meet you. I will google you and follow you on twitter We will converse on facebook, which is as much a book as a cellophane is a string instrument. You will stay in touch through” Constant Contact.” Nothing tactile in that touch. No need to wash hands before or after. No dust on a book cover, just click, click and you are on.
The romance of the tangible world is over. Candlelight dinners or face to face conversations -- you better learn to do without. We are gurgling google with a geyboard , which globally position us where we want to go. Socialites no more, we are googleites.
Sunday before last, I go against the googling stream to meet real strangers in a really remote area. An old-fashioned kind of adventure. I’m meeting a group of Kentucky writers at the Giles House, a house of Janice Holt Giles, a Kentucky based author whose stories were set in these hills and lakes, and her books sold in millions of copies, I am told. But that was before 1974, and the invention of Google. I would read my Love and Laugh poems from a real paper book. ( Just so you know, it is the last time I spell out LAL.- Next time, google it.)
And, sure enough, I resort to Google, which spits out a mile to mile directions to 428 Woodlawn Av, Campbellsville-Kentucky. I leave the house with a printout. By now, I am well in training to believe maps like dictionaries, are obsolete. My Google friend is all I need. Plus, maps are hard to come by anymore in my house. My offspring cleaning crew had relegated them to the web-covered corner of the barn under a tarp, a waiting room for a recycle bin, or an aforementioned stake. They have been sentenced along the dictionaries.
But in Google I newly trust and off I go to the Giles House. The directions guide me swimmingly off the picturesque Bluegrass Highway through the meanders of the corn-lined country roads to the heart of Kentucky - Taylor County, which not only is shaped like a heart, but also happens to be located near the geographical center of the state. The county seat, Campbellsville is approximately 85 miles from Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, and Somerset. This is where my true adventure awaits me. My Google printout takes me precisely to the home of the Central Kentucky News Journal, and there is no backup plan. All doors are locked, and nobody in Campbellsville seems to know what I am talking about. I stop at a Shell station, and the Filipino man behind the counter hollers to someone in the back,”
“Hey Jay, you know where Giles House is?”
“A rehab?,” Jay is quick to reply.
“No, a place for writers.”
“Riders, the bikers you mean?”
And though the exchange doesn’t take me far. It feels good to see strangers in their act of ungoogled kindness. Just people wanting to help. The nicest lady at the university library breathing heavily with asthma takes her time - a learning curve included - to make me another Google printout how to get to Knifely, where she is sure the Giles House is. It doesn’t matter that the directions are sending me north instead of south. It is as good as the Google could get. But, it shows me the grace of the people in this heart-shaped country that beats with a small-town kindness. The true heart of Kentucky. My saving grace angel finally appears in a CVC corner store as she checks out at the store counter, “Janice Holt Giles house,” she says. “She was a real celebrity here at her time. I have been to Knifely many times.”
Knifely is a peculiar geographical location. It was named after an incident that was omitted in most Kentucky chronicles. Once, after drinking bourbon, men engaged in the knives throwing competition using a Kentucky map as a board. The man who put his knife through the heart of the map got to name the place where he built the house. It just happened to be Henry Giles. And that’s how the Giles appropriated Knifely. But you won’t learn this on Google.