What are you, Social Media and Technology, that I should be mindful of you?
My grand children have never known a time when cellphones did not exist. They have grown up watching Sesame Street and As The World Turns. They have never had to invent games for lack of something to do. They have only watched Survivor from an easy chair, never actually had to survive. If they can’t text a friend or have their meal interrupted by a text, they believe they’ll never survive.
Few know how to check the oil in their car’s motor or how much air should be in the tires, nor do they care. It would mean pocketing their phone for a few minutes. And the most scary part is, they can scarcely drive a car with talking or texting.
Have you ever watched a group of teen friends try to carry on a real conversation with their friends? It is multi-tasking at its epitome. Both hands are at work with flying thumbs. There are a few grunted replies to those around them, a beautiful picture of social interaction. I once observed a couple kissing, in a manner I thought quite passionate, until I noticed her working her phone behind his back. Whether videoing the event or texting, I couldn’t tell.
So I began to ponder this morning, “Just what did I miss out on as I grew up? Does this lack of technology in my early years account for my apparent lack of intelligence around my Smartphone?”
Here is a resume of the technology with which I grew up.
Palm Pilot: The answers to difficult classroom questions inked onto the palm of my left hand (I am right-handed).
Slimline phone: By the time I was a teen some of our more affluent neighbors had these beautiful phones that could be held in one hand and included the rotary dial between the earpiece and the mouthpiece. Many had 20’ cords so that one could escape into a nearby closet for a private conversation. However, privacy only went for your house, because we still had party-lines and anyone of five neighboring families could be listening in on your “private” conversations.
T.V. : Sorry kids. My TV life was black and white only. But we could still tell that the Lone Ranger rode a white horse called Silver.
Radio: All radios were monsterously large and ran on vacuum tubes that produced a lot of useful heat to keep your fingers warm on cold winter nights. Some were even installed in cars. When using these you had to keep the car running or risk running the batteries so low that your car would not start.
Solar powered clothes dryers: Everyone had one or more of these. They consisted of small ropes stretched between two buildings or poles to which your mom pinned your wet clothes to dry in the sun and/or wind.
Pinerest: Gawking at other people’s solar clothes dryers to see what kind of underwear was pinned thereon. We wanted to see it. What new fashionable clothes were being worn? (But mostly just checking their underwear, since sooner or later the outer clothing would be seen in church.)
GPS system: These consisted of a dash-mounted compass and a Shell or Chevron road map.
RV’s: Our first recreational vehicles were Red Flyer wagons and bicycles. Some of the more inventive guys nailed skates to one side of a 2 X 6 about four feet long to make true “skateboards.”
Camp trailer: Our first camp trailer was a tarp-covered utility trailer that we used to camp across America, Florida to Oregon in two and a half years.