Monday, April 19, 2010

Excuse me, this is a bathroom, not a phone booth

While today’s topic has nothing to do with bathrooms and phone booths, I thought it was funny when my Aunt said it, so I decided to use it as a title. Today’s topic is as far away from the topic of bathrooms as possible it’s more about Social media and how I can’t seem to live without it.

When I think about how far technology has come in the past twenty five years it makes me laugh. In fact, it often reminds of a time when I was 18 and I was babysitting my boss’ son, Zak. Zak at the time was about 3 or 4.

This was the time of the old “bag phones”.

Remember these…they were a complete hassle and only the wealthiest of the wealthy had them. Or those with the largest of egos…

Anyphone…Zak and I were out and about when I needed to stop and call his mom and dad. As we were looking for the nearest gas station to find a payphone Zak so innocently said “why don’t you just use your phone?” My first thought was “well only rich people like your parents can afford that phone”. Then I decided I should just let him know how normal people live.

I said, “Zak, honey, not everyone can afford the bag phone, just like only a few people can afford cars with automatic windows. Most of us can’t afford bag phones and have ‘armstrong windows’ (you know the ones where you actually have to crank the shaft to get the windows down).” So we get to Zak’s house later that day and he goes running into the arms of his mom and dad and immediately says, “daddy, you don’t pay Miss Julie enough, she can’t afford a bag phone or a car without Armstrong windows”.

Needless to say his parents were a little puzzled and my face turned beet red.

But the moral to the story is, at that time, I lived perfectly content, without a “cell phone”. Now jump ahead almost twenty years.


In the midst of all this new technology, I struggle to get by without texting and feel lost on days that I don’t change my FaceBook status. I have been forced to embrace more and more methods of digital social networking over the years. This has made me, in a sense, mourn the loss of the human connection. The world is smaller than it has ever been and we are connected more than ever. We can chat with our friends at work and interact with people all over the world at the touch of a finger. Yet, we are the lonliest people group ever. We chat with people all day long on our computers yet we know no one in our neighborhoods.

Just yesterday, I made the mental note to email my neighbor Jodi about her son’s birthday party this weekend instead of going outside and striking up a conversation with her. It’s sad. I’m not proud!

This makes me sad. While my preferred method of communication is texting, I miss the excitement of getting to know someone, face to face. The minute I know the first and last name of someone I am going on a date with, I google them. I’m sure they do the same with me. But my question is this, what ever happened to the days when everyone knew everyone? You could walk into the local restaurant, library, or gas station and learn nearly everything you wanted to know about your pending date.

Now we no longer date the average Joe in our neighborhood. Instead we search online for our long lost loves, for our soul mates, for our future. We rate our status by how long our friends list is on FaceBook. And we share our life stories through the blogging network in hopes to make people laugh, share our dreams, or maybe, just maybe help someone in need along the way.

Technology makes me long for the days of my youth when things were much simpler, when we actually talked to our friends face to face. There was no texting, no IMing and no social networking. I long for the days when face to face introductions was the commonplace. And first dates were much more exciting because we didn’t know anything more than what our friends told us.

Ahhhh…memories! It makes me wonder what my kids will be saying in 20 years. Will we be hopping in our flying cars and putting on our space suits while avoiding our neighbors in the next air chamber over?


  1. Technology isn't all bad. If it wasn't for that I never would have met my husband. :)

    But I do agree that it makes it so, so easy to not connect with actual people sometimes. I have actually text my husband something from a few rooms over rather than walking down the hall to tell him! Sad indeed.

  2. I completely agree. I often mourn the days when a phone was just a phone and we could walk out of the house without one and not feel naked.

    Now I marvel at the ability to order pizza from my phone and check an app rather than asking a friend for a restaurant suggestion.

    I fear we are reaching an age where we don't even have to show up to our own lives.

  3. I actually just thought about this very same thing the other day. Remember when we lived without cell phones and we made plans with friends to meet up and somehow, we'd all magically show up on time?! Every now and then there was a snafu, but more often than not, things just seemed to work out.

    And it is sad--though not surprising--that we're so lonely. But it's good food for thought. Maybe we should all try to limit our dependence on technology a bit each day. I know I'm extremely guilty of this myself but it's a sign of our times, I guess.

  4. Do you read ThetaMom? She has a wonderful post about the other side of the effects of technology.

    I agree. I wonder what kind of world our children are going to grow up in. We at least know what normal human contact was like, even through its limitations. Our children have to worry not only about their social life in school, but their online social life as well.

    With technology, people have become a lot more accessible. I keep up with people through Facebook that probably wouldn't otherwise.

    And see here? I'm being afforded the opportunity to meet you through our faceless communication ;)

    I don't know what I would do without my cell, either. I imagine, though, that not having them meant one less thing for husbands and wives to argue about. Heaven forbid my husband leave his phone at home or me not answer mine.

    Let's not forget about DVR. You don't even have to worry about missing a tv show anymore!

  5. oh I used to have one of those phones!! we laugh about it all the time compared to what we have now! my mom got if for me because I was on the road two hours a day for work and she was worried-thanks mom!!

    my husband and I were just talking the other day-as I programed the GPS-that our kids may never really learn to use a map-it'll be another of those things they'll say you use to have to what to get somewhere?

  6. Happy SITS Day!!! You are such a fabulous writer, and I'm having so much fun reading your blog:)

    I totally agree with your feelings about technology. It's bittersweet. I feel almost 'naked' without my cell phone nearby, and if I have to go a few days without the internet I begin to have withdrawl symptoms:) It really does make us wonder if we weren't so attached to this social technology, would we be in closer relations to those nearby? Or quite possibly... the easy access to long-distant friends and family via the computer may have actually enhanced our relationships.

    I suppose it has not made things better or worse, but just different. You make a good point ... we should really attempt to make more face-to-face time with those around us:)

    CHEERS to your fabulous DAY!! xoxo

  7. Dropping in from Sits. Congratulations on your special day! I've been reading some of your posts and you are a great writer. I've laughed out loud several times, which I really needed today. Enjoy your Sits day and keep up the good work.

  8. I absolutely loved this post! You know what I miss? The sound of a Rotary Dial Phone. I get so tired of hearing "weird noises, or songs! Not only that, when I'm dialing I miss the sound of "click,click,click as I dial returns to its rightful place,instead of the little chimes or "notes" that the digits make now. Call me old fashion. I had my cell phone set on a Christian song, but realized the other day how much I missed the old phones, so I changed the "ringtone" to a nostalgic desk phone. It still isn't the same, but it's definitely closer. By the Way, Happy SITS Day! Stop by and check out my blog.

    God Bless!


  9. I completely understand what you mean about the lack of personal interaction. I live in such a small town, and yet we are all on facebook and rarely call each other on the phone, its always texting or email. We all stand in line at the post office but no one is talking cause we are all texting, or checking FB. *sigh*

    I am however, grateful for the internet because we are so secluded here, its nice to know the rest of the world is still out there somewhere. ;)

  10. I hear you! I can't believe how far technology has come since I was in school. It is hard to picture how much more we can advance.

  11. You're right about technology, but it works both ways. Sometimes I'll text a friend across the room, which is silly like you said. But I can also text my friends at other schools, so we can keep up with what we're doing.

    I admit that I don't remember bag phones (I'm 20). But I'm sure they were impressive. :)

  12. Congrats on your SITS day! Job well done.

    I used to live in NYC when cell phones were the exception, not the norm. When meeting friends you had to be very specific about what corner you were meeting at. Flash forward a few years later and when I was dating my husband, both of us owning cell phones, we could ALWAYS make sure we found each other on a corner, because if they weren't where you thought they should be, you just called and stayed on the phone until you saw each other.

    Now I text him from bed to bring me coffee in the morning. I love technology!

  13. I often think of pre-cell phone days (and I'm only 29)! I would gladly give up my phone (but never my DVR) and I wish that my future kids (none yet) would have to sit in the kitchen, twisting the cord, cringing for the lack of privacy as they called their friends - just like I did. My mom knew everything, and I credit that sole phone in the middle of our kitchen with the super long cord.

  14. When I was a teenager, my mom had one of those bag phones. Whenever I would go out on the weekends,she insisted I take it with me. Man, I thought I was the coolest because not everyone had one LOL. I feel so old because not only do I remember bag phones, I remember what life was like before INTERNET!!!!

  15. the whole texting as foreplay thing is so bizarre but so part of the modern age!

  16. I enjoyed your blog and laughed out loud when I read Zak's comment, 'daddy, you don’t pay Miss Julie enough,' Submit CUTE or FUNNY photos and tell friends to vote. $2,000 in prizes. No entry fee.



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