A Fake Holiday, Balloons In Cars, and Rotary Phones

Today is my favorite holiday of the whole year! I remember when I was a kid, we’d all gather around the computer, and my dad would go on the internet and buy Christmas gifts. We’d search for hours online for just the right color for a new sweater for Grandma, or just the right books for Uncle Billy. We looked forward to Cyber Monday all year. Sometimes we’d get free shipping, or a big discount, but we always had a great time. Cocoa, popcorn, Christmas music playing on the iPod in the background. Ahhh…the beautiful memories of my childhood. :) *laughs at own cleverness*

Can you imagine that this will be the story our kids tell their kids? I cannot even dream up what will come after this, but there will be something for our grandkids to tell their kids…something totally different.

What I really remember is going to see my mom at work and having to put on a parka in July because the computer room (yeah…a whole room) was about 30 below 0 all the time. I remember when Atari came out. I remember when it was still a big deal to get your ears pierced…and anything else was verboten. (My mom’s mom used to use that word all the time…I love it!) I remember ice cream shops in pharmacies and grocery stores. I remember being able to play in my front yard without armed guards to keep me from getting attacked, shot, or kidnapped. I remember when there were two kinds of coffee: regular and decaf. I remember Sanka and Brim.

It’s so amazing to me that in less than 37 years, so much has changed. So much has happened. Is it better? Yes. Is it worse? Yes.

Our cars are safer*, but it’s not safe to walk on the sidewalks anymore. We can choose from 31+ flavors of ice cream, but now instead of a smile, you get a crabby teen who thinks they’re not getting paid enough. ($7.25 is a lot more than the $2.10 you would have gotten in 1975) Minimum wage was $4.25 when I graduated high school. My first job was $5.50/hour and I thought I could buy the moon. The cost of living back then was so much lower. Gas was cheaper…around $1.15 per gallon. Food was cheaper. Homes were less expensive.

I don’t want to go backwards…I love my Mac and my iPhone just as much as the next person. Probably more. I love the looks I get when I say that phones used to have a rotary dial and cords that attached to the wall. Then I love having to go Google “rotary dial” because they don’t know what that means.

I tried for years to keep an address book, and I have to admit, I finally gave it up. It was actually hard to keep it up. Paper calendars are hard, too. Along with the ease and convenience of today’s technology, comes a responsibility.

You must practice keeping in touch. You must try to talk to people face-to-face each day. You cannot live your whole life texting, and calling, and emailing. Human contact is necessary. It keeps us sane. It helps us practice our manners and social graces. It reminds us that we’re not alone.

So I challenge you: Don’t text your neighbor. Go over. Say hello. Don’t email your co-worker. Walk over to their desk and ask about their day. Don’t conference call people in the same city/town…get together. Drink one of 74 kinds of coffee, and sit around a table together. One of my challenges for the coming year is to be more social. Not less “tech-y”…more social.

I am totally crazy about having everything I need for an entire day in the form of an iPhone, but I’ll go totally crazy if I rely on that for my sole communication. It’s beyond convenient that whatever I type into my phone “magically” appears on my computer via iCloud…and vice versa, but I still need people. We all still need people.

It kind-of makes me sad that there’s an entire “holiday” based around purposely not seeing anyone face-to-face. Yes, it’s easy, and there are great deals, and it’s just one day, but it’s also a scary trend that is happening more and more. We can work from home, order groceries to be delivered to our home, and shop online from home. I love my home…but it’s important to leave it and go have human contact. I’m not condemning anyone. I’m just stating my opinion. Which is totally right regardless of what you think.

I will freely admit that I have used Skype with Jessup while we were both home. Different floors, so it’s totally ok. Stairs are hard.

This is what was on my mind today. I think I’m going to head out and see if I can find someone to talk to. That is all.

*This is questionable. We’re all supposed to be protected by balloons instead of steel. We’re driving cars you cannot even hear. And don’t even get me started on the Smart car. Smart…Pffffffft! Only if by “smart” you mean “will be squished like a bug”.

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