Unplugged…

T I M E   T R A V E L   T U E S D A Y

I miss these old relics.

I was just marveling this morning at how I could be talking with a friend by email while she’s was flying in an airplane, on her way to Canada. Then I realized there’s really no more alone time, unless we purposefully disconnect from all of our gadgets. I mean turn the POWER OFF — that sort of disconnecting. Otherwise aren’t we tempted to glance over and see who is trying to reach us?

Before the age of computers, internet and cell phones, traveling meant relying on old Ma Bell. We brought lots of change with us OR we reversed the charges when calling home. We’d find a vacant phone booth and shut that folding door. (Gee, I haven’t been inside a phone booth in let’s see…. well, FOREVER!) Talk about time travel! Those calls, as I remember, were very brief because they were costly and usually inconvenient. (And sometimes the phone booth smelled like urine!) I’d call home from college, once a week, usually on Sunday. It was just to say hi and “touch base,” basically to let my family know I was alive.

My grandmother used to say, “No news travels like bad news.” The implication was, “You don’t really need to call home, honey.” I think that was just her way of saving money. I mean, why throw a whole dollar away on “reaching out” when we’d all find out pretty darn quick if someone died. What can I say, she was hard core, she grew up on the prairie… (My grandma was a little like Half-Pint, actually more like Half-Gallon)

When I was young and we took a road trip, we were all alone in that car. No one back home had any idea where we were until we called them that night to check in. It was a great feeling — total freedom. We were completely disconnected. I loved it, and now I miss it.

My neighbor is not nearly as attractive as Gladys Kravitz.

Nowadays we’re tied down by cell phones and internet. Anyone can reach us at anytime during our travels. We’re trapped. Unless we tell our friends and family ahead of time, “I’m going off the grid,” “I’ll be unplugged” or “Leave me alone!” No one really respects boundaries, they just bust in.  I was once on vacation in Florida with my family and I got a call from my next door neighbor, Gladys Kravitz, about something completely stupid. I was furious because she knew full well that I was on vacation. Her call completely took me out of relaxation mode and put me right back home and into worry mode.

So in conclusion, yes, cell phones and internet are wonderful. They can keep us safe and are amazing to have in an emergency. Yadda, yadda… But aren’t there times when we just want to unplug and go off the grid? I miss having that option. I get tired of being tied to family and friends. I don’t want to return calls or have records of calls received and made and sent. It’s all too much!!! I feel like I’m on a leash. (And I really dislike people who say things like, “Didn’t you get my message?” “Didn’t you see that I called?” “I left you a voice mail…” Blah, blah, blah!) Obviously, if I wanted to call you back, I would have! Sheesh!

Do you miss your down time, your freedom? Do you remember what the world was like without all this technology?

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