Once Upon A Time- Long Before All The Clutter

Do you remember party lines and rotary dial phones. How about peaceful evenings and Sunday afternoons without the incessant ringing of phones and telemarketers hidden behind predictive dialers hoping to pitch things we don’t want or need?

To anyone born after 1975 it would be hard to imagine connecting in the primordial world that I was born into. Prior to the computer, the Internet and cell phone, we were getting along just fine. We relied upon face to face communication because it was the most reliable means and if that wasn’t enough we wrote a letter and eagerly awaited the response by ‘snail mail’.

They say life was simpler then, the pace far slower and yet, in hindsight I don’t recall that we were any worse off than we are today. In fact I am beginning to think something is missing today.

14 responses on “Once Upon A Time- Long Before All The Clutter

  1. Technology is an easy scapegoat for what is at its heart, really a people problem.
    Many people are struggling with the demands on their time, but do not understand that there are other ways to approach time management besides filling up the calendar with meetings. They do not guard their discretionary time. Some are encouraged to spend time on tasks that do not add up to the goals they hope to achieve. There may be a disconnect between motivation and what gets done. Some people even feel rewarded for being busy and stressed out. Being relaxed, calm and balanced is incorrectly equated with being lazy or a slacker. Taking time to recharge, reflect, and think… Feels like a waste of time, until burn out sets in!
    Technology can be part of the solution to the problem of overwhelm, allowing you to carve out time to enjoy other activities. Recognizing the need to make careful choices among the deluge of tasks of daily living is the first step to reclaiming your day from the clutter of interruptions and low impact time sinks.

  2. Ed Drozda says:

    Catherine, you make such great points here; let me point out that Catherine and her husband Stuart Malone are the creators of a superb software product- LifeBalance. This product will help you manage that often elusive life that you live.
    I chose to look at the technology side of things. Fast growing and very hard to keep up with but at the root of it all is people and the choices they make. Thanks Catherine for taking this to a higher level.

  3. I make it a point to shut everything off sometimes – everything. It's almost jarring at first but I find I feel much better afterward. It seems like a whole other life – being able to sit in the quiet and read….

  4. Hi Ed-
    Technology is a great thing, but the overuse is problematic to relationships, in my opinion. As you mention, we're getting away from face to face contact (or verbal contact) and relying on more anonymous means of communication.
    So, what is missing? Our ability to deal with problems 'head on,' human to human. Texting and emailing allow us to avoid instant accountability.

  5. Oreste P. D'Arconte says:

    I'm so old I can remember when only girls were taught to type (see my Sunday column in The Sun Chronicle.) Imagine that. Today, if you can't type, you can't communicate. Stopping to reflect — especially before you begin to communicate — is an invaluable skill.

  6. Liz says:

    I turn off the volume on my phone before I leave my office. If I choose to look at it when I'm home that is my choice but I refuse to jump up and check it as soon as it makes a noise.

  7. Ed Drozda says:

    Is Liz alone out there?
    Mr. Cell Phone here- I often leave it in the car. Ask my wife-
    Debbie: Ed where were you?
    Ed: I didn't know you were looking for me.

  8. Ed Drozda says:

    Great stuff Jami- I have a friend who loves going up to a remote part of Maine with his wife every year. No phones, no TV, no distractions. To call it cathartic would be an understatement- maybe not for all of us but as you say there is another world out there and perhaps a stranger within us we might like to get acquainted with too.

  9. Ed Drozda says:

    Despite my best efforts Rusty there are times I stick my foot in my mouth. Reflection before speaking, writing etc. is more than an invaluable skill. It's absolutely necessary.

  10. Ed Drozda says:

    Relationships- what relationships? The other night my wife and I were at a restaurant. I looked over and noticed a middle-aged couple awaiting dinner. Each of them was texting.
    To each other perhaps? I'm with you Pamela- where is this all leading?

  11. Connie Dunn says:

    Ed…
    Yes, many of us remember a time before computers, cell phones, etc. My mom is 91, she remembers a time before cars, refrigerators, and any telephones.
    The good thing is that she passed on some of those wonderful skills that were common in the early 1900s: sewing, conversation, knitting, crochet (I never learned to tat, but that hasn't bothered me!) and so many others!
    I can even remember getting our first television. I don't know what we did before we got the TV, because I remember most of my childhood as TV time was family time.
    When my children were young, I limited their TV time. And with my youngest child, I even limited her computer time. It's all about choices, I think. What do we value? What value does the technology bring?
    I wouldn't want to go back to a time without computers. Typing on typewriters with carbons was messy and time consuming when you had to keep starting over because of a mistake.
    Cars are nice, as well, but now we have polluted our air. I think we'll find the technology to green up our transportation. It might not be you or I, but we have many more generations following us that might!

  12. Ed Drozda says:

    Thanks for the inisght Connie and the reminder that those before us saw even more change than we. So then the question is passed forward- what do we value? What value does the technology provide? And last but not least- where is this all leading?

  13. Bonnie Gold says:

    Ed this is a great topic! I remember years ago, when cell phones started to become the norm, I was out for lunch with freinds, there was a couple at the next table, and the man talked on the phone the whole time they ate! Needless to say it was annoying and so rude to the person he was dining with and the others that had to hear every word of his very LOUD phone conversation. Did you ever notice you don't normally hear conversation from other diners, but when on the phone their voice volume seems to go up?
    I like the fact that I can get in touch with people when I want, but, I think the fact that we are able to get everything so fast on our phones, email, etc… our patience level goes way down, everyone wants their answer asap, which usually causes some hasty desicion making!
    Hey this post could also work for your "can't you drive that car any faster" post!
    Thanks for the vent! I'm sure I am guilty of some of the above behaiviors ;(

  14. Ed Drozda says:

    Bonnie, there is no question that the volume goes up when someone is on the phone. It's quite rude that we can no longer share the intimacy of the party we are with because we are forced to partake of other parties as well. I am still left wondering- where does this all lead? Telepathy might work I suppose- at least we won't be over-run by loud conversation 🙂

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