Modern Times and The Telephone or (Don’t) Answer Your F#%^&ing Phone!

(Don’t) Answer Your F#%^&ing Phone!

In the early 1900s the use of telephones became popular with post offices, railway stations, important governmental centers, a few nationally distributed newspapers, large international corporations, and of course the wealthy – and used mostly for business.

Once telephones were set up and quasi-affordable, they became all the Rage.

Instead of hopping into your Ford, Studebaker, Packard, or perhaps your horse & buggy or probably more frequently – a nice long walk – to call on a friend, you could just pick up your telephone receiver and get connected to the person you wanted to reach.

Telephones back in the old days generally were used for just a few reasons, setting up appointments (business or lunch date for example) or getting in touch with someone who lived far away (back then a few miles – if you had to walk – WAS far away!)

I remember as a young’un, our telephone had its special area on a small table with the white pages (for residence) and the yellow pages (for businesses) just under it. There was a cup with a few pencils, pens and paper for writing notes. It was a shrine of sorts.

Most of us had memorized all the numbers (it was possible for one to know a hundred numbers!) for family, friends, small businesses we frequented and of course the emergency numbers.

We had a rotary dial and I remember hating to dial numbers that had too many nines in it.

When the phone rang, we stopped what we were doing and rushed over to it. Mom would pick up the phone with a cordial ‘hello?’ sometimes adding ‘Davies Residence’.  My brother, sister and I would jump up and down and ask, ‘who is it?  Gramma? Granpa?’  Then mother would sit down in her telephone chair and chat and my siblings and I were left to our own devices.

Soon we – as we got older – were getting calls ourselves from classmates, cousins and such. Who remembers the dreaded busy signal? Back then, you would know that the line was ‘busy’ by that irritating Buzz in 4/4 time.  Since there was no ‘call waiting’ back then, we had to wait patiently for them to end their call. Of course the only way we knew this was to keep trying until we finally got through. Oh, and there was no REDIAL.  You had to put your finger into the circle slot on your phone and actually DIAL the number (and hate all the more those numbers with a lot of NINES in number!).

Times have changed of course. We don’t have to memorize anyone’s number anymore (I think presently, I know three numbers including my own) …and ‘dialing?’ It is funny how we still use the words dialing and hang-up the phone – though now we do neither.

We can turn our device on (which is technically not even a telephone anymore, but better described as a tele-communication device) and just say the name of the person we want to reach. There is no more busy signal, we can leave a voice message. We can choose not to call but to text, and we don’t even have to write that text! Technology certainly has brought us a long way… and I must admit, it is awesome and convenient. BUT…..

One thing that hasn’t really changed since the days of the early telephone, but has become much more commonplace – and much more irritating –  is the constant (and some might feel ‘pleasant’) interruptions the tele-communication device bestows upon us.

If you and I were sitting on a comfortable bench in a beautiful quiet park and having a very nice conversation, or perhaps a private business meeting, and then someone – out of the blue – yelled out your name and ran over to us and immediately commandeered our one-on-one time, most civilized people would consider that interruption quite rude – unless of course it was an emergency. 

The modern tele-communication device has no moral obligation, no ethics and indeed, no shame. Most don’t think twice about stopping someone in mid F@#$%^&* sentence to answer a call…

…and from what I have observed it is usually a frivolous call. 

These interruptions disrupt the meter, the thought process and continuity of our conversation that we just got – I dare say – shanghaied from.

How can one go back to the original good feeling after a proverbial slap in the face?

I will grant that some phone calls are chalked up as ‘saved by the bell’ – indeed, I’ve been saved quite a few times by that ominous bell.

But in an age where one-on-one contact, conversation and intimate interactions (where one can experience chemistry with another real live person, pick up nuances from a gesture, feel the warmth of a smile, a touch on the arm) are getting less and less frequent with every generation compounded with the advancement of technology, I say, don’t let this modern tele-communication device hamper our meetinginteractions with real people.

… and indeed! Don’t let it hamper our alone time when –in the words of a buddy recently posting on a social media site wrote – “I just wanna read my memes in peace without you interrupting and stressing me out with your demands for instant attention”

That sentence right there prompted me to write this Blog Post.

Thanks JLR!

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1995

 

 

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Published in: on September 8, 2017 at 1:35 PM  Leave a Comment  
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