Thursday, June 14, 2012

Plugged in

When I was growing up we had a color console television in our living room.  And it had a remote control (don't be a hater!) because it was too much trouble to get up off the couch to change the channel to one of the other 3 channels when your program was over.  Yes, 4 channels total.  ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.

And we were fine with it.  As a matter of fact there was lots of time when the TV wasn't even turned on.

Our family had 2 telephones in the house, in the kitchen and my parents bedroom.  They were connected to the wall and the handset was connected by a short curly cord.  So if you wanted to have a private conversation you had to use the one in the kitchen and stretch the curly cord so you could sit under the breakfast table because everyone knows that under the breakfast table is the fortress of solitude!

Back then, when we wanted to know what our friends and/or family's status was, we would call them, ride our bike over to their house and knock on the door or, if they lived out of town, we would write them a letter.

If our family was going on vacation, we would use a map to find our route.  And sometimes ask the guy at the gas station for directions while he filled the tank with 49 cent/gallon gas, checked the air pressure in the tires and washed the windshield.

Doing a school research paper required either a trip to the local library or, if you were lucky, searching your parents encyclopedias for the material.

Comparing that time to this one makes that time look so simple and easy.  So slow and laid back.

We thought Dick Tracy's watch phone and Maxwell Smart's shoe phone were so cool! And then there was the Jetson's!  What a wonderful futuristic world they lived in! Wouldn't it be cool if some of that stuff was real!

Today we are loaded with technology. We are almost living like the Jetsons! (if I could only get one of those space car things!)  It's fantastic.

There are interactive TV's and 3-D TV's.  Everyone has a computer and cell phone.  We are totally plugged in and have so much information at our fingertips. We are virtually connected with almost everyone on the planet in some way.

I must admit that I love my phone.  (Dick Tracy would be so jealous!) It is a wonder gadget.  A computer in the palm of my hand.  I can surf the internet, take a picture, keep up with my friends, manage my time, play Angry Birds, set reminders, reserve a table, map a route, listen to music, watch a movie, read a book, make travel arrangements and oh yeah, make a phone call. I would be in a world of hurt if I lost it. I do love my phone!

Being so connected to everyone/everything is sometimes a little over-whelming.

As much as I love my high-tech life and the convenience of all the ever evolving technology, I also love unplugging from it all sometimes. Turning off the phone so I can't hear the beeps and chimes that signal a new email or status update and putting my computer away for an evening or even a weekend, just to center myself and enjoy the moments without any interruption.

It's a good thing for me.  It reminds me what's important.

And I really don't miss much, it actually makes plugging back in fun!

Do you ever un-plug? Tell us about it!

Show us your favorite-can't live without it-gadget!  

Since this month's In Focus theme is Attraction to Abstraction, your homework is to take a picture of your favorite gadget in a different way.  Try to capture what is abstract about it!  Catch it off guard!  Try a new angle!  Find a part of it that looks abstract and capture that!  Process your image in a new and fun abstract way!

Share your homework in the flickr gallery and tag it ATA to be considered for the In Focus spotlight!

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.  ~Joyce Brothers



Carol said...

Perfect day for this reminder! My computer has been sent out for cleaning and my parents will be here for the weekend. See you next week;)
( I will miss working on my pictures though I think I'm permanently attached to Lightroom!)

Carol said...

I thought about your post all the way to work, and I just wanted to add a thought. I love technology, but while it connects you, it can also disconnect you. This is not a new idea. But your post made me think about how we used to have to all agree on what show to watch. That meant you were exposed to the things your parents and siblings cherished in a very direct way. Maybe you didn't want to admit you liked something your brother did, but maybe you grew a little from exposure to things you wouldn't have chosen - maybe you shared a little of your sibling's psychie. I still listen to my marent's music sometimes to relax - it feels like home to me.
Just a thought. OK now - see ya next week

Deanna said...

Oh Linda, I do remember all of what you wrote about the "before"...except we only had 1 phone in our house and it was in the hallway. I had to stretch that curly cord into the bathroom across the hall to have any privacy. Great going down memory lane. And I am afraid I am addicted to my laptop...spend way too much time on the internet. But my circle of friends has grown because of it.

Dotti said...

Fun post, Linda! I remember when we had only B&W TV's - no color yet. Can you imagine?

Technology is a blessing and a curse. The ease with which we can get information is wonderful; having a map at your fingertips is a godsend when you're in a strange new place; getting in touch with family members quickly is a delight as well. As Deanna pointed out, the world of the internet brings fun new friends into our lives. But, I cringe when I see people sitting in a restaurant together, each one talking on their phones or texting but not interacting with one another. I fear that the omnipresence of technology will in the end deteriorate our interpersonal skills rather than enhance. We would be a lonely society indeed if that happens. The answer, I think, is to use our techie devices wisely ... and always be mindful of the real treasures in our lives: our "actual" connections to people we care about.

heyjudephotography said...

Linda, I agree. Technology is a curse and a pleasure. It was fun going down memory lane with you and your descriptions. We had one phone, with a long, extra stretched out cord from pulling it into the bathroom and shutting the door for privacy while we talked on the phone. Three channels, no remote. Did have color though. Whoo hoo! Being a recruiter and interviewer in "my other life" I do sometimes wonder if kids,and other younger than me people, :) will be able to communicate with others in more than 160 characters, and without abbreviations!

gina said...

I love being connected, but struggle to find balance in my life....these devices have a powerful allure and it can be hard to disconnect. We've starting a ritual of weekly unplugging: computers, iPads, iPhones turned off for 24 hours. (We still have a landline for important calls.) We use the time to reconnect with nature, family, and ourselves. It's been a wonderful practice for our family.

Dotti said...

Gina - This is a fabulous idea! :-)


terriporter said...

Love this idea, Gina! If my kids were young and still at home, I would for sure implement this rule. As it is, when my grandson is here (as he will be all summer), he is allowed only a limited time with media and we play board games, swim and read. Requires more from me but I think it much better for him. Actually, I kind of enjoy it!

terriporter said...

Oh, this post takes me back, Linda! I remember everything you're talking about! I LOVE living in these times with so much technology but forcing yourself to unplug once in awhile is a good thing. As I mentioned above in my reply to Gina's comment, we are making a concerted effort this summer to not rely so much on TV, the computer and video games and find other things to do. Wouldn't want to go back to the old days, though!

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that instead of all this technology making life easier it has actually made things more complicated and busy! I need to unplug myself and my family more often!

AFishGirl said...

This makes me think of the rabbit ears on the tv (black and white). Technology. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I fear greatly for this generation. I think they are lonelier and more "disconnected" than any I have ever seen, despite their 500 friends on Facebook. I say this as a pharmacist whose been practicing for for almost 30 years. And it's not just this generation. Across the board I see more isolation and loneliness and medications to deal with that pain. I dunno. These are strange times. I would not want to wear a dress everyday (ala going back in time) but a part of me settles deeply when we are fishing far away from any sort of connection to anything, even phone. I'm probably meant to be a hermit. The modern thing I like is two bathrooms... not exactly technology but danged handy. I have the cheapest cell phone on the market that does nothing and I barely can use it. Okay, I am outing myself as a wannabe Luddite. There. It's out.

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