Saturday, October 25, 2014

Talking Trash Unplugged

I readily admit I'm a dinosaur...a throw back to pen and pencil sets, boxes of party invitations and simple white thank you notes.
I come from a place long ago and far away where the web was something we cleaned out from under the beds.
A cell phone was where you made your one call...usually to a lawyer.

A twitter was me at 15, all worked up and waiting for the cute guy in the back of the class to call. 
A text was written words, found within the contents of a book...which btw was something held in one hand leaving the other hand free for turning the pages to read...licking the index finger optional.
I didn't do research with an ISP, but with the DDC...Dewey Decimal System.
And back in the day, our social media consisted of Friday announcements...including next week's lunch menu...coming out of a scratchy, school loudspeaker, the daily Courier Gazette newspaper and the back of the Sunday church bulletin. Any information missed by these three were covered by the network. Not the network we use today, but the working network of Small Town America mothers who collectively, could ferret out and deliver more information than Yahoo ever could...on its best day!
It's not that I grew up during the Dark Ages. No sirreebob. I had, after all, seen the movie Desk Set for corn's sake!
I knew computers were these huge behemoths that required data entry cards. Back in the day, key punch operators were in great demand, but sadly have gone the way of the dodo bird and the guy with the cocked hat who greeted you with "Fill 'er up ma'am?" and "Check under the hood?" Heralded as the time saver to beat all times savers, computers have wreaked havoc since.
What they didn't say at the time was eventually time saved meant less employees needed. Now these tellers, cashiers, etc. spend their free time twiddling their thumbs standing in an unemployment line or asking "Super size it?"
(Listen up all you teachers out there. With the increased handing out of pc's instead of textbooks in could be next to join the ranks of the obsolete if we're not careful!)
I don't know about y'all, but I like talking to a real person, not an AI. And please,  don't even get me started on Siri!  That chick is supposed to understand several languages, one being English, but I'm guessing Twanglish wasn't included in her programming nor is it in her wheelhouse! Fact is, we're not even on speaking terms until she drops her high falutin' attitude!
(But I squirrel-gress.)
What I'm getting at is that with...ahem...progress, comes change and not always for the best.
Gone are passing notes between classes and family discussions around the supper table.
 Why bother when a text can be sent during class and as far as catching up with one another as a family? That now takes place at opposite ends of a couch or a house.
(If evolution is for real, I for one shudder to think of the coming generations of goose necked kiddos that will be a direct result of their ancestors staring at their laps 24/7!  I know that area below the equator is the center of a teenage boy's world, but really. As grown ups, can we not got out to dinner or a movie without constantly checking our phones?)
Gone are typing and shorthand classes. Once prized skills, now replaced by cyber shorthand with garbled messages containing nothing but letters like lol, brb, and omg. Which begs the question...WTH?
Gone is learning to tell time on an actual clock...with hands...and with it, knowing that 20 'til 7 and 6:40 are the same cotton picking thing.

And lest I forget, heaven help us if the power ever fails. No one...and I do mean no one...below the age of 39 knows how to make change without a screen to tell them. And I cringe when they count it back to me! Oy vey!

(Sometimes...just for gits and shiggles you understand...I like to confuse the heck out of them. If My total is say $9.01, I'll hand 'em a twenty and a dime. They usually manage in time to figure out how to punch it in, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the heck out it. As I watch the dazed look in their eyes, I think to myself..."That'll learn ya, dern ya!")
What's sad is that as the computers get smaller, so do our lives.
The art of conversation is disappearing right along with the sharing of feelings only to be replaced by hastily sent emoticons.

(Farewell interaction face to face. You've been replaced by Internet chatrooms and Facebook!)
But for me, a lover of words, one of the saddest things progress has wrought is the demise of the written word...down to the threat of removing cursive writing being taught in school.
I can't conceive a world where beautiful handwriting isn't considered a gift, a art form.
(If I can't get to Paris, at least I have a beautiful friend who remembers me. Thank you Cindy for the card...although I still don't know why you couldn't have hid me in your carryon!) 
To think that some will never experience the thrill of opening up an archaic mailbox to pull out a card or letter with their name hand written on it. To never know the joy of checking the postmark for some distant, exotic land or just from the next town over is inconceivable to me.
( I had hoped for a souvenir named Jacques, but a card is almost as good! And being thought of even better than Jacques!)
 How sad to miss the excitement of unfolding the pages and reading words written in a handwriting, that much like a fingerprint, is unique only to the author. To never have  memories tucked inside an envelope, as it and its contents are placed in a box for safe keeping to share with future generations. Gentle mementos, tucked safely away to be reread over and over to our heart's content. Rereading and remembering as if it was just yesterday. And knowing it was sent, not just with a stamp, but with love.
How can we cheat future generations out of such a treasure?
There's only way I know of and that's to go back. Now I know they say going backwards is a mistake, but I have to disagree. There are times when it is best. Times, for example, like dancing the Texas two step or walking out of a room buck nekkid. I happen to believe this is one of those times when doing it the old-fashioned way is actually progress in reverse.
I say it's high time we pull our heads out of our butts laps, start taking the time to remember how to visit out loud, say we love you without it only being on FB or in a text, and most of all, learn to love the sound of our own voices.

I'm willing to give it a go and I'm thinking this ought to be a piece of cake.
'Cause y'all know me...
I already got the last one down pat!



Cheryl said...

Good morning Deb,
I love your post and am in total agreement with you!
I love to write notes, read a book held in my hand, talk to family and friends on my land line if I don't see them in person........I have a simple cell phone sans camera but I think I can get on the internet and text with it but never have......I keep it turned off unless I am traveling, then it is on in case some one needs to reach us. This young generation at a cash register (computer) is a hoot to watch. I have the change figured out in my head before they can get the amount punched in and I have been known to tell them what my change should be.........then I get that look that says really?!
Just wanted to let you know that I agree with you.
Have a great day and you and CD have fun!

Dewena said...

I love it, my husband loves it, and when I get through linking it to my sisters, they and their husbands will love it too--a family of dinosaurs are we.

This post would be funny, if it wasn't so true and so sad.

Girls Gone Junkin said...

Oh so hit the nail on the head, and I LOVE it! I am not a very "High Tech" person myself, and being a blonde does not help the matter, but I so miss the days of sweet cards and letters, and still today try and send cards when I can as it is just so much more personable, and they are just so darn cute :)
Miss talking to ya in person and hope our paths will cross sooner then later!
Hugs, and Happy Halloween Week!

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

Just when I think you've written your best post you go ahead and pen this! This has been a subject around our dinner table the past few nights (and yes we still all have dinner together)! My son especially will love this...he sometimes wishes computers were never created and he's the youngest! I'm going to share this with my family...I may even print it out and hand it to them!

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...


I wrote our daughters a handwritten letter each month they were in college. I'm sorry to say I've gotten away from it, dear Deb. They anticipated these gifts written with love, reverence for their futures, and conviction of my past failings. I so deeply want my offspring to live better, be better, selflessly serve their loved ones in greater ways than I ever thought of doing.

I resolve, to the best of my ability, to "give it a go" again.

Your post meant a whole lot to me today, Deb. Have a great week!


holli said...

and gone are the days of good ol fashioned thank you notes. My grandma started me on those when I was a kid. If my friends had me stay over , then there was a thank you card to the parents the next week. No one wants to mail those out anymore. I love getting old fashioned mail. Definitely pros and cons to the electronic life.

Bohemian said...

You're receiving a standing ovation from me and I'll step up on that soapbox with you GF! I have lamented the exact same things... and sadly, even some of my Generation have Caved and given up the distinctions that made the Relationships feel more engaged! *sob* I was the last of the Dinosaurs to still write and send letters... only after a while of sending them out and never getting any back, I simply gave up since a one way correspondence is like trying to have a dialogue and realizing it's actually a monologue. I do enjoy some of this Progress... such as the Land of Blog... there are new Art Forms to Explore with Technology... but I just Hope for the sake of Future Generations that the Lost Arts are resurrected before the last of us is gone and nobody recalls how to even do it anymore?! Dawn... The Bohemian

Faded Charm said...

So true, Debbie! I especially liked the part about 20 til 7 and 6:40 are the same thing. My youngest daughter honestly didn't understand when I said that to her one time.....I thought she was messing with me and believe me we went over it as I was cussing the public school system for not teaching my kid how to tell time!

I feel things would be a lot better if we went back to simpler times:-)

Hope you and your family are all doing well.


Julia said...

I Loved every word of this!
Thanks for sharing!