Can You Hear Me Now?

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It was a slow day today. I came to find out that it was due to a nationwide outage of my landline telephone provider. No calls in/no calls out. Thanks Comcast.

But as frustrating as the day was, it made me reflect on other times when I was “cut off” communication-wise from the rest of the world. I had a strange epiphany.

I realized that being “cut off” from the world is a relatively new experience.  In this age, with our smartphones and 24/7 tv coverage, we are literally plugged in to almost every corner of the world at any given time.  It was not always so.

When I was growing up, news came on at dinner time and was over before we were finished eating. We would read the newspaper to catch up on the news of the day. Sure, the news we were reading was a day old but the reporters had that time to check for things like accuracy.

We had one phone line coming into the house and we had to take turns to use it. And the phones we were using weren’t smart. They weren’t dumb either. They were just phones. You used them to dial a number (on a dial!) and they somehow magically connected you with the person you wanted to speak with. And if you couldn’t reach them you just wrote them a letter and mailed it off. And you would most times get a letter back in response.

The first step I took to full access connectivity to the world was my pager. I had a job where the employers thought it would be good if I could be reached anytime, anywhere, by anybody. I felt important when I was first given the device. I was stupid. It took less than a month for me to learn to hate the pager. But that was only the beginning.

Technology evolved at a rapid pace. Cell phones, Email, Internet Messaging, FaceTime, LiveStream… we eventually reached a place where we can touch anybody at any time, anywhere they are… and they can touch us.  I’m not so sure that’s an improvement.

If memory serves, we were pretty happy when we were less plugged in… less accessible… less connected. At least less connected electronically. We were more connected physically and emotionally. And that isn’t a bad thing at all.  Thanks Comcast for the downtime… and the reminder that human connectivity beats electronic connectivity every time.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specializes in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of films, videotapes, audio recordings, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

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