V and I were musing about the changes we have seen in our long lives. Our conversation centered on our society’s (V and me included) need to stay connected. This came about as we were fiddling with V’s new Kindle Fire which will, of course, connect to her Facebook, Blog, E mail, Internet, Library, etc., etc.. And this is in addition to her I-Phone and computer. I’m in the same boat—toting the I-Phone and I-Pad wherever I go.
When V and I were growing up, there was nary a thought of a personal cell phone. My mother and mother-in-law did not have cells until they were in their seventies, and yet all of us—those two octogenarians, too—think we cannot leave the house without a cell phone. Furthermore, I get irritated as all get-out when Son either has let his run down or if he has left it where he cannot hear it.
I think we’d all die of impatience if we had to return to this sporadic contact. We’ve forgotten what it is to “wait by the phone” since the phone is always either in our purse or on our person.
And then there’s the internet. What a wonderful tool it has been for me. It has revolutionized my law practice in so many ways. I remember the days when my research needs would expand further than our set of state reporter books. I’d have to get in the car and head to the Supreme Court library or the law school library for research that I now have at my fingertips twenty-four/seven.
This is wonderful. But it has also resulted in my working closer to twenty-four/seven, too. My case load seems to have expanded far beyond what I could carry before and, as a result, I think I feel more overworked than before I had this internet convenience.
V and I talked about the speed of the change we have seen in our lives and how even more radical it had to have appeared to my grandmother who went from horse-and-buggy to television, air-conditioning, and man on the moon (although she never believed the latter—said it looked too much like Arizona desert to her). She also went from floor-length dresses to mini-skirts (not HER, of course—she also heartily disapproved of women in slacks).
I really think that we are living in a time of lightning-fast change as compared to other eras. How much different, really, was twelfth century Europe than fourteenth century Europe (you history buffs feel free to jump on me here). I don’t think their lives changed anywhere near as radically as my grandmother’s did in her lifetime.
Things V and I remembered that our children will never relate to:
- The “importance” of long-distance phone calls or of using “the operator” to place one or placing/receiving a “collect” call;
- The lack of microwaves and the necessity of reheating left0vers (ever so slowly by today’s standards) on the stovetop or in the oven.
- Not having world news at your fingertips. Remember waiting on the 6 and 10 news? Or on the morning and evening newspapers—which are quickly disappearing.
- Coffee pots that “perked” either on the stove top (watch that clear glass bulb on the top!) or one of the new-fangled electric percolators. Either way we had to wait (horrors!) far longer on our cups of coffee than would be tolerated today. (remember the Maxwell house television commercial featuring the percolator sound?)
I guess I’m feeling old and curmudgeonly today, but I don’t know that all these conveniences have necessarily led to less work. Like any other vacuum, the time saved has left a void only to be filled by more hustle and bustle. I’m living proof…C