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6.30.2011

BUSY SIGNALS

In this world of cell phones there are not many who will know what I speak of, or who can comprehend such a thing.  There is, in fact, a whole generation that really only know cell phones and are totally unfamiliar with land line phones.  I grew up on a farm in a rural part of the Midwest.  My grandparents lived across the road, and my aunt and uncle’s house could be seen across the field.  All the years of living at home we had a party line with my grandparents until 1979 when my parents remodeled their house and my grandparents built a new brick ranch house.  We each had a separate phone number but we shared the same line in and out.  You could pick up the phone to use it and find grandma talking to her sister Ruth.  Which, she did daily.  That also meant you could listen to her conversations.  Not that those grandma conversations were too awful riveting to a 13 year old.  I hated when a boy called as I knew if grandma or grandpa picked up they would hear bits of the conversation.  There was really no privacy.  Why we had a party line, I have no idea!  I suppose I need to ask my parents about that.  I’m assuming that in the 1960’s and 70’s maybe there were a limited number of lines to where we lived.  I don’t know.  Maybe it saved my parents some money.  I do know it kept your conversations short and sweet.  Phones were more of a have to, not a want to like they are now.  Phones just were not as seemingly life and death as cell phones are today.   More and more people are eliminating their land lines as we become more reliant on mobile technology.  Over the weekend, as we were tearing off a room on the back of our house, we purposely detached the land line running into the house.  We don’t have a land phone any longer.  My husband is far more techie than I.  He carries and lives by his iPhone.  Me, well I thoroughly love the limitedness of my old flip phone.  He has tried to get me to get a new iPhone going as far as taking me to the Verizon Store.  It hasn’t worked.  That iPhone seems like just another avenue of bondage.  Something excessive that I don’t need or want in my life.  I don’t like excess and actually relish a bit of minimalism in my world.  Kindly I have refused upgrading my flip phone for wide open access to apps, emails and music.  I love my beat up flip phone which does all that I really want and need it to do – text, call and take pictures.   There is a sense of boundaries and peace that I have to NOT get emails on my phone.  There has to be a line between technology making life easier and causing us to never disconnect.  Party lines were a pain in the ass, but iPhones and the like are a bit of bondage.  It’s nice to leave work at work.  And vacation is supposed to be vacation.  Remember those days.  There is a line from a song at the end of the movie “Napoleon Dynamite” that says….”I love technology.  But not as much as you my dear.”  I often sing that song with a twist on the lyrics, exchanging hate for the word love. 

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