I grew up in the 1950s in a family of nine who shared a single telephone on the wall in the kitchen. With its extra-long curly cord, if we wanted privacy we just walked around to the living room. The time limit on the phone was 10 minutes. Then the line had to be kept free for 10 minutes so that anyone calling our home had a 50 percent chance of success. Nobody’s life was ruined by these rules. Nor did it ever seem necessary to have more than 10 minutes on the phone.
Back then, it was possible to pick up the phone and talk to a live person. No endless phone trees or long periods on hold were necessary. All television programming was free, and more and more TV stations became available over the years. Even so, people often followed the same big events or popular programs, which became talking points at school or work or over the dinner table. (Yes, families actually ate together!)
I’m puzzled about why we think all of the gadgets that have come into use since 1990 have made wonderful improvements in our lives.
I’m old enough to remember the JFK assassination, the first moon walk and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. These shared events had a unifying effect on people.
When we needed information not available in the encyclopedia, we called the local librarian, who looked it up for us. So I’m puzzled about why we think all of the gadgets that have come into use since 1990 have made wonderful improvements in our lives. Sure, there are different kinds of social connections now. But these days I feel completely disconnected when I talk to my doctor, who sits typing notes into a computer rather than actually looking at me.
Yes, things are different today, but the new technology hasn’t necessarily made things better. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if sometime we stopped and thought that maybe we’ve gone too far, that maybe we should go back to a simpler life?
Kathleen Deming is a resident of Macalester-Groveland.
COMMENTS TERMS OF SERVICE
MyVillager welcomes comments from readers. Please include your full name and the neighborhood in which you live. Be respectful of others and stay on topic. We reserve the right to remove any comment we deem to be profane, rude, insulting or hateful. Comments will be reviewed before being published.