Tag Archives: phones

Remember When

I’m not really the nostalgic type. While I am never one to speak for all, I’m thinking most shallow people are with me on this. At times I think the desire to recreate the past happens when we’re not so happy with the present. At other times I simply can’t remember what it is I’m supposed to be nostalgic about. Whatever, it seems to me that living in the here and now, not in the past or in the future, is best. So it was with some surprise to myself and others that I decided to go on the hunt for a manual (yeah, there wasn’t always a plug) typewriter. As expected, it wasn’t long before someone asked me “Why? Why would you want a manual typewriter?” To which I provided what seemed to me to be the most logical response, “because I want to write using a typewriter”. Which is partly true. I mean the idea of taking the time to tap hard on each key and having no easy way to correct my mistakes has an odd appeal to me. Possibly it could make me a more deliberate and mindful writer. I’d have to think carefully about each and every word, how to properly structure my sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into stories. I’d have to learn how to spell again. The other part is I have this handcrafted pine desk crying out for me to put something on it and I thought an old typewriter could be just that thing. More decor than function really. Regardless, this little journey of mine into the past got me thinking about how things have changed even over the relatively short time (come on…in the scheme of things) I have been living on this earth. So as I am wont to do in this cases, I will share some of these thoughts with you.

Remember when a phone was something you only had in your house? If it rang and you were home you normally picked it up as there was no way of knowing who was on the other end. If it happened that you were having one of your daily chit chats with your friend from down the street, catching up on all the comings and goings of that neighbour you were pretty sure, but not entirely confident, was having a fling with the grade 4 teacher, (it’s possible there was just some tutoring going on) your caller would get a busy signal (you can play it here if you don’t know) and be left to redial over and over again until their fingers got tired and the incessant sound of the rotary dial made the whole endeavour seem a little too onerous . And if you weren’t home at all?  Well if a phone rings when no one is home does it really make a sound? Now, short of putting your phone on “do not disturb” which no one really understands, there’s simply no escaping it. It’s with us everywhere and all of the time. For most of us hearing that catchy little jingle we have chosen triggers an immediate response. Like Pavlov and his dog. We text, we talk, we FaceTime, and we pretty much know exactly when that grade 4 teacher comes and goes.

Remember when a coffee shop was a place you could stop off on your way to work to grab a cuppa joe for a quarter? Pretty much always it was better than the sludge they percolated in the coffee room. Sure, sometimes you would linger for a moment to hear what Sam the owner, who knew everyone’s business and was more than happy to share theirs with you and yours with them, had to say.  But unless you were under five and could be entertained by continuously spinning on those metal stools that someone somewhere decided would be a viable alternative to a chair, it was a pretty uncomfortable place to spend your time. Now coffee shops are a destination. A retreat even. You go, you sit, you read, you meet, you greet, you make new friends, lose old ones and, of course, you spend inordinate amounts of money on drinks that bear only a faint resemblance to the roasted beans from which they came.

Speaking of friends, remember when they were people you actually knew? And liked. There was a time when making friends wasn’t so easy. First you had to identify people who were somewhat like-minded and with whom you had something in common. Like a shared interest. Or work. Maybe a hobby or two. Then you had to actually meet them. In person. Once that happened you would spend some weeks or months getting to know each other and somewhere down the line you would realize you had made a new friend. If you were really lucky you might find a few more people that you could call friends. Now I have 82 friends on Facebook (a paltry number by most standards) and I don’t even know where some of them came from not to mention how they have come to know me. One thing I do know for sure. They must really like me because they all seem to remember my birthday.

And we couldn’t leave this trip down memory lane without remembering when no one, and I mean no one, spoke openly about marijuana. Not that it wasn’t around. But if it was around you sure as heck didn’t want anyone to know. Apparently, (well this is just hearsay) to get some you had to know a guy who knew a guy and your guy had to be pretty sure that guy wasn’t from Precinct 52. And from what I understand, there were no choices. You got what pot you got. Unlike today where you can meander down to your corner weed boutique and find a litany of choices with enticing monikers like Moon, Forest Rain and Ocean View. Not sure if the names reflect the effect but if they do, might I suggest you stay away from something called Shark Shock

Finally remember when Barack Obama was President? I do and lately I have found myself pining a little for that time. So at the risk of sounding just a tad nostalgic, I would like to pose one question. Does anyone happen to know anyone that has access to a time machine?

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We have a problem

girl-with-smart-phoneI’m shallow. Perhaps that’s more than a bit of an understatement from someone who has been writing a blog about said condition for nigh on three years. And if you’ve been with me for all or even some of this time I suppose that to some extent at least, you have come to know about me and my ways. As such, I am sure you would concur when I say I do my best to accept life as it comes, let bygones be bygones and live and let live. What you might not know is that I am an avid observer of human behaviour. Let’s face it. Anyone who spends as much time as I do sitting on a patio sipping lattes ought to notice something about humankind. And as much as I hate to admit it, I have become quite bothered of late by what appears to me to be an ever growing problem shared not by a few, but by the vast majority of people I have encountered in not one but many situations. Having thought about it for some time, I have decided to use this medium of mine, limited as it may be, to share (some might say vent) my feelings on this rather troubling phenomenon. So fair warning…this is gonna be a rant.

Here’s the thing. Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, whether walking on the beach, driving down the road, shopping for (let’s just say) a bar of soap, or enjoying that heretofore mentioned latte, people are on the phone. And if they’re not actually talking on it, texting on it, or taking pictures (primarily of themselves for some reason I hesitate to try to explain) with it, they simply have it in their hand. In fact it is a rarity these days to actually see someone without a phone. The thing has become ubiquitous. Never mind the notion that future generations will be born without a baby toe because, as we all know, who really needs that? All things being equal, if we continue on our current trajectory, I figure future iterations of this species of ours will be born with special little grooves on our dominant hand into which we can permanently slip our miniature talking devices. But back to the point. How did phones, of all things, become such an insidious and, from where I sit, annoying aspect of our lives? How is it that we have become so dominated by this comparatively new, in the scheme of things, piece of technology? How is it that we have let them take over?

Get ready, because I’m just going to go ahead and say it. In the “good ol’ days” when you were out you were out. Business was business and pleasure was pleasure. Now no one knows what’s what anymore because you have your phone.  You’re walking down the beach, the sky and water are a brilliant shade of turquoise blue, not a cloud in the sky, the cool wet sand is cushioning each and every step you take, waves are crashing against the shore, rocks glistening in the sun, but do you notice? No. You’re on the phone talking to some shmo’ who got stuck at the office on the weekend because he spent so much time answering emails that he couldn’t get his work done and now he needs you to help him out.  And he knows you can because you have your phone.

In the good ol’ days when you sat down to eat you inhaled the delicate smells of the freshly cooked meal in front of you, admired the array of colours artistically arranged on the plate making each part of the meal look more appetizing  than the next, wondered where to start and which succulent bite you wanted to experience first. Now when that meal comes to your table you take out your phone and take a picture of what you imagine will be a most delicious treat and then, before reaching for your fork, you post that picture on Facebook so that I can see what you are not, at least at that moment, eating. And here’s the thing. No matter how good that picture looks, no matter how delectable that meal appears to be, I’m still going to be chowing down on yesterday’s leftovers which I might decide to warm up if, and that’s a big if, I can find the energy to do so.

Just one more so bear with me please. In the good ol’ days when you were driving that’s pretty much all you were doing. Sure, you might be listening to a few tunes on the radio, singing along to some “oldies but goodies” on that easy listening station you favour, and the kids might be bickering in the back seat, the sounds of their chiding almost driving you to distraction but you keep your eyes peeled on that road because the kids are in the backseat. Now, sitting at a red light looking over to the person in the hot rod next to me, invariably they are on the phone. And if they’re not talking on it they’re texting that all important two line message to someone who is likely in another car doing the very same thing. Apparently that $20.00 fine they face down here just doesn’t seem to make a difference but perhaps the day they wrap that car around a tree, or even worse, yours or my car around a tree, will.

Right about now you might be thinking “What’s with the shallow gal? What’s her problem? I like my phone. And here’s the thing. I like my phone too but let me just be bold and say it. Just because you and I like our phones doesn’t mean that we don’t have a problem. And just because I’m shallow doesn’t mean I’m not going to say that we do.

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