Friday, July 31, 2009

The Sound of Silence

The other day, while I was driving to my parents house to pick up my daughter who had spent the night at Nanny and Gramp's, I started to think about a strange thought that popped into my head as I cruised at 35 miles per hour, music playing and receiving an email on my iPhone (and yes I have left the fruity comforts of my blackberry and joined the evil minions of "i"),
my god, modern society has been robbed of the joy of EVERYTHING because we can get ANYTHING ALL OF THE TIME!!!......sorry for yelling, let me explain.
Lets travel back in time to the dark and desolate time of the 1970's and 80's when I grew up.
Back then if someone had wanted to get a hold of someone they had to walk to a certain area of their dwelling or specially located communication areas scattered about the globe and pick up a phone receiver, which happened to be tethered by a usually unwieldy spiral cord, to a box with numbered buttons, or a mechanical wheel with holes in it if you couldn't afford one of those fancy push button ones, that itself was tethered to a jack in the wall. You dialed the number, and if all stars were aligned, and no teenage girls were tying up the line because back then you were only allowed one call at a time(is there even such a thing as a busy signal anymore?), you might get a hold of someone if they happened to be home at the time if not you had to try again later until someone was there.
A major event every day was the coming of the friendly Postal carrier, or mailmen as we called them, which brought hand written letters or catalogues (a large bound book of things for sale which only came out a few times a year, if that) and the standard bills for living. Letters would be opened and read with much ado and kept as treasured keepsakes. Catalogues were studied and dog eared and shared by all to find that certain something you dreamed about and would purchase at a later date if you could save up the money, or put on layaway(and old purchase program for this you couldn't afford). And bills were bills yet they had a more ominous meaning when they were in paper right in front of you.
Television was about thirteen sometimes blurry channels you navigated by getting up from your seat and turning a plastic knob on your 16 inch television tube which was the size of an oven to see what was on. Once a year they would televise your favorite movies, that was another huge event that you would anticipate like Christmas and the whole family would gather to watch together. Every night at midnight, or an hour or so after, the National Anthem would be played to the picture of the country's flag and then the screen would turn grey and be off the air until the next day.
Music was a very communal thing. Sure there was radio, but if you were at home and wanted to listen to your favorite artist or tune, you had to find the dinner plate sized plastic disk, or side plate sized disk with the huge hole in the center and find someone who was authorized to use the very valuable record player to engage the delicate needle to play the music to be shared by all in the room.

I am sounding like one of those spam emails sent to everyone in a certain generation, but I can not help to think of how nothing is special anymore.
Access to everything is immediate and easy for most of us nowadays and the magic of certain things is gone forever.
Things that were special are not anymore because of the wonders of the information age and I think it is a little bit sad.
Many of the things that were a shared experience in my youth are a solitary experience now, and due to the ease of things, are not even enjoyed as they were just a short time ago.
We are barraged every minute of every day with a constant influx of info and it has all become the usual.
Our friends and family can be reached at anytime anywhere,
We can get what ever it is we want tomorrow, regardless if we can afford it,
We can watch what makes us happy all of the time,
and we can hear amazing music, by ourselves, by pressing a button.
Are we better off?