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  • Julie Branstetter

Letting the World Fall Apart

Telephone Booth

I had an interesting conversation (all day really) but especially in the car riding with my mom today about cell phones and facebook and social networks etc... You can imagine what an older lady might think of it all but strangely enough she said something I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. At one time in my life time even, and I'm not that old, we didn't carry around cell phones everywhere we went, at one time no one of whom I knew even owned one. No one logged onto facebook everyday to constantly tell people things they really probably don't care to know and as a result no one started word wars with people because it's easier to be mean behind the screen than to look a person in the eye and say something hurtful or nasty. People didn't get irritated when they couldn't reach us and assume we were 'dodging them' because they didn't feel entitled to our complete attention every waking moments of every day. "Back in my younger days" was not long ago which is why the drastic change in people is so shocking even to me; I have been a witness of it all. Back in my younger days, we carried a couple of dimes or a quarter around with us in case we had an emergency or got lost because we knew we could pull over and use a pay phone at any given gas station anywhere. You rarely see those strange and foreign contraptions anymore and if you find one, the phone will have been pulled out and forget there being a telephone book with it.

Back then, if someone needed you they would call the house phone and IF you had a voice machine connected to your phone, and it was turned on, it would record a message from the caller if you were not available. People called, got the voice machine and automatically assumed you were not at home. If someone died, you found out a few hours later but in the end it didn't change anything. Or if there was no voice machine and no call waiting, they would just keep calling until the line was not busy anymore. My mother told me stories of their wall phone when she was little and how several families would share their phone lines so if their neighbors were sly enough, they could pick up the line and eaves drop your phone conversations. Needless to say, only gossips used the lines to talk about important matters. The rest of people would find one another and speak face to face. In my younger days it was not so un-private to make a call, but that was all we needed. If the call wasn't important and the line was busy eventually the caller would move on to something else and leave you be. We were not tethered to each other with the 'world wide web' and we had more time to actually live our lives and also be aware we were doing it too rather than spending so much time just making everyone else aware of every single breath we took. I guess what I long for was the peacefulness of being disconnected and being able to truly be disconnected without feeling I had to keep at least one plug in to even have a way to stay in touch with anyone anymore. I know, blah blah blah blah blah.... but don't you sometimes just want to skip checking fb and forget your cell phone when you go out for a bit? Don't you just want to let the world fall apart if it must while you are out? Could you have stopped it from falling apart anyway? Maybe I'm just getting old and I'm joining the club of those who don't deal well with change. I seriously doubt it since I still love to change my furniture around every other month, but maybe sometimes, things might not need to much....

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