TalkBack Tuesday: C’mon People Now

I grew up in a small town in a time when people weren’t focused on a cellular device while being out and about. We held doors for each other and shared umbrellas in rain storms. Now, of course not everyone in a small town is a nice person, but sometimes in this big city, I feel lost in the hustle and bustle. Especially when all my brief encounters are with people who are so disconnected from the world around them.

Q1. Would you rather live in a small town where everyone knows your beeswax or in a big city where it’s tough to find a friendly face?

A1. I have found that if you look hard enough, even a big city can feel like a small town. Those who I’ve invested in, know my beeswax but I am still able to maintain a certain level of anonymity in the city. I’m also mature enough to know that just because someone knows your business, doesn’t mean they know you.

Q2. Would you rather invest in online relationships or live encounters with strangers?

A2. Ooooh, that’s a crap shoot. There are so many lost connections that the WWW has helped me rekindle the dying embers of those relationships, that wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of FB, Instagram and Twitter. But it is always fun to roll the dice with the strangers sharing your interests. The way I see it, you wouldn’t be where you are doing the same thing, at the same time, if you didn’t have similar interests. And that’s one thing you have in common, think of all the other things you might connect on. A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.

Q3. Is it better to be alone and online or surrounded by people without?

A3. I love people. I love the instant gratification of the laughter and shared experiences. My Hubby and I try to put our phones away when we’re out in the world (as long as there’s no pressing work to be done, i.e.; this blog) and the first person to reach for their phone pays the bill. It can be a challenge but everyone who’s had to go without their social device for a few days knows, that by day 2, it’s liberating. Maybe it’s something I’ll encourage more of in the future.

I feel like I have been droning on and on lately about my love/hate relationship with the web. And that’s exactly what it is. A web of time sucking social encounters that can wait, but it just keeps sucking me in. I think of how productive I could be, if only I’d put my phone down. So, in the future you will find me here, there and everywhere, but no matter where I am, I will try and be present. And that’s my gift to you.

TalkBack Tuesday: C’mon People Now

Death Of The Landline

When I was a little girl who thought she was old enough to be a grown-up, I started getting and giving phone calls. I loved that glossy white wall mounted magical machine. I loved the way it would sing it’s ring throughout the house. Jingling with the urgency of unknown adventures at the other end. I would come flying down the flight of stairs, sliding around the linoleum clad corner, snatching the receiver from it’s vertical cradle; breathlessly greeting the possibilities, only to have to hand it over to someone else. Or on the rare occasion that it was for me, scream for whoever to hang up the other extension. As I leaned gratefully against the wall I would slide down, pull my knees to my chest and twirl the cord around my fingers as the conversation unfolded into my ear. I was happy to spend hours chatting idly or absorbing long awkward teenage moments together in silence. The home phone was a family fixture; literally and figuratively. Now, it faces extinction.

I grew up in a small town. As you may know, entertainment is tough to come by, I had to make it myself. I am not proud of this, well, I’m a little proud of it, even though I know it was wrong…on more than one lazy afternoon I let my fingers to the walking through our local phone book. I searched for names that made me laugh; and farm towns have plenty of rural names…Caspers, Kuntz and Balls. My girlfriends and I would double over laughing at badly made fridge and nose running jokes. We thought they were the funniest thing that could’ve happened, at least on a boring Tuesday in the rumpus room.

My Momma, however, didn’t see the genius in these pranks. When the phone rang with a giggling girl or cheeky chap poised to prank, she would whistle into the mouthpiece. Now, this was no ordinary whistle; it was renowned throughout the neighbourhood. In the evenings instead of a dinner bell, my brother and I were summoned with the shrill whistle shriek, sending us running home, no matter what we were doing or where we were. Imagine directing that kinda power into the ears of an unsuspecting jokester…needless to say, we were not pranked by the same joker twice. And at school the next day I would hear about how much their ears were still ringing.

When I got my first cell phone, I still had a landline. A cheap phone that played the Rocky theme, and I loved it. It was also the way I got internet. I can’t even remember when I stopped using a wall mounted communicator. Or when text messages became a mainstay. I am confused at how I migrated without realizing it. Almost like flying south on autopilot, only more like a Smartphone. I am inadvertently helping to kill the landline. If that happens here are some of my big concerns: Where will my kids get phone calls from their school friends? How old will they be before asking me for a cell of their own? And at what point will tele-communications become an implant ? For now, I can’t worry about all those futuristic details, I can only love that olde-timey feeling when I am tied to the wall at my parent’s house, where I pace. It reminds me to be thankful for the freedom of my wireless. And though I am sad the hard wired telephone is dying, I can’t stop progress single-handedly. But at least now I can talk hands-free.

Death Of The Landline