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Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Formative Years, B.C.

Before Cells, that is. (I realize that most of the world refers to cell phones as “mobiles”, but “B.M.” doesn’t sound right…)

I had a good (and substantially younger) friend recently ask me, in all seriousness, what people did before cell phones.

You know what we did, don’t you?

We suffered. In silence.

Ha ha. As we used to say: JK.

Remember that? When “out” was truly “out”?

Back when the primordial stew was just forming the hormonal gravy that was a really jumpin’ Saturday night, the place to be in my hometown was, unbelievably, the Dairy Queen parking lot. Now doesn’t that sound like something straight out of American Graffiti? Cruising Main Street, heads out the windows, honking our horns and doing heart-stopping U-turns in the middle of the street when a car-load of friends went by, we were positively rabid in our pursuit of others, of crowds, of being part of a good time…

People my son and his friends' age will never know the uncertainty -- or the exhilaration – of coming upon a large and impromptu gathering. They would no more think of leaving home without their phones than they would pass up the big glass beer-boot at the local beer hall. They are all connected, always: at work, while tucked in their own beds, while in the bathroom.

Don’t ask.

I kind of feel sorry for them.

I, on the other hand, regularly forget to plug mine in, to bring it with me, to turn the ringer on, to check my voice mail. (Text me all you like, but there’s something about voice mail… “Hi, Pearl? Yeah. This is Aloysius “Stinky” Ostenhoff. Call me back, okay?” Really, Stinky? ‘Cause I can see that you called – did you really think you needed to throw in another step there, requiring me to check my voice mail so that you could tell me that you called?)

Sometimes a little silence is a good thing.

Anyway, give me a call. If I don’t answer, please don’t leave a voice mail. I promise to call you back.


The Grandpa said...

When I was an adolescent, it was the parking lot of the Dog n Suds, a local root beer joint that served hot dogs. Thanks for sommoning up the memories.

Mark Wadsworth said...

My mates used to spend so much time at a particular pub that before we rang their home number, we'd ring the pub just in case. It worked fine.

Word verification: wars tent. That's the first time in ages that I've seen two proper words.

Not The Rockefellers said...

The town resevoir, or "The Rez" as it was commonly known, was were we'd all hang out.

Teenage ragin' and misbehavin'.
It was all good, though.

All of your networking was done there face to face or tell-a-friend style.

No cells.

Times changed and a legendary making out and drinking spot became a dangerous place to be.

There is now a cell tower near the rez.

Electric fences prohibit anyone from entering.

But there are so many memories left inside.

Peace - Rene

Lilly's Life said...

What did we do? We had FUN - it was simple. Plus our parents knew where we were for most of the time. Now tiny kids have cell phones so their parents can keep track of them. Oh no Pearl it wasnt like that back in our day. No sireee.

Worse still, do you remember when cells first came out they were the size of bricks - hilarious now when you think about it.

I am like you too. I forget to recharge mine. Am always losing it and never check my messages. I am also a little undertain about all this talk of cells causing brain cancer - and yes, I have now turned into my grandmother. It happens when you least expect it, 'back in my day sonny we did things the right way....'.

Soon I will be getting blue rinses in my hair and one of those shopping bags on wheels....something to look forward too.

June Saville said...

Years ago I had a high power job that required me to tether myself to a paging system. Inevitably it would go off when I went to the toilet!
I hated my pager.
Now we actually choose domination via technology. Do we ever learn anything?
June in Oz

Eric S. said...

Those were the days. Far more impromptu than anything kids these days will ever experience.

I wish I could throw my cell phone away. It's simply an electronic leash.

Chris Cope said...

Having a mobile removes a certain exotic element that existed in those dark days. If you got lost or your car broke down or what have you, you were left to deal with this situation on your wits alone. Since I am a full-on idiot, it resulted in all kinds of delightful adventures. Now I just ask my phone where I am.

Barbara Blundell said...

Have you finally found employment for your cat ? There were two on TV last night introducing a quiz programme. I hope you have provided yours with a mobile-you will need to keep in touch. I think he is mixing with bad company.

Blue Blaze Irregular #1 said...

I am so with you on the forgetting to have it, chanrge it, etc. Once you've actually functioned without a cell phone, it's kinda superfluous. I don't take myslef seirously enough to think people nwewed to know what I'm thinking at that exact moment.

I hear every excuse in the world about why people (that would be my 19 year old college students) need cellphones. "There could be an emergency!" and "My car could break down!" seem to head the list. But, okay...reality check. How many emergency calls have you made or received in the last year? How many times have you called because your car broke down (or you saw someone who had broken down)? Uh huh. The primary use of cellphones seem to be for a variation of this conversation.

"Hey, what're you doing?"
"Nothing. You?

Lather, rinse, repeat 100x a day. Welcome cell phone user.