Thursday, October 23, 2014

In an 80's Time Warp

I think I have hit a time warp and been transported back in time. How do I know? Well, the Royals look like one of the best teams in baseball and are playing baseball well into October. That alone should be enough proof but there is more evidence. Corn and gas are both below $3.00. Maybe all those shows on TV Land are not reruns. Excuse me for a minute while I go check to see if I still have my high school diploma.
I don’t know if being transported back into the 80s would be all bad either. Think about it. None of us would have our smart phones. We might actually communicate face to face. No more firing off an e-mail or even worse a text. If you want to tell someone something, you would have to either physically travel to where they are or at least pick up a land line telephone and call them. I bet it would cut down on the number of angry outbursts and misunderstanding.
No cell phones would mean less distracted driving and better planning. No more worrying about having reception because there is none. I have often wondered if being in constant contact with everyone is a good thing. No more interruptions during meetings or people answering their phones during a movie. The world would be a much more courteous place.
Going back in time would also not have the internet and I am almost positive that would be a good thing. Sure I would miss not having all that information at my fingertips. However, it would also be much harder to spread misinformation.  Before the internet we didn’t seem to have so many “experts” and we worried about our business instead of getting involved in everyone else’s.  Thanks to the internet we can find any supposed fact or research to promote any idea we can think of, regardless of the truth.
That also harkens back to a time with no social media. How did we communicate or keep up on old friends? Oh yeah, we actually visited them or at least called them on the phone. OK, so keeping up with old acquaintances via social media is not so bad but there are plenty of other things that aren’t so good. It would also be much harder to spread gossip, lies and rumors. Campaigns would require more thought and be much less anonymous. Maybe candidates would run on their stands on issues and not who can smear who with the most dirt, maybe we would actually try to be more informed on the issues as voters too.
Wow, do I sound like Archie Bunker as I sit here in my easy chair and pontificate about how good the old days were. Maybe I have reached the point of being an old codger. I do miss the days of less instant communication, more face to face interaction and a lot less connectivity. I am sure the world was not a better place back then; we just thought it was because we didn’t know any better.
Much like the genie we can’t put it back into the box. This is the world we live in and it is only going to get smaller in the future. We must learn how to live in it because disappearing into the wilderness and becoming a hermit really isn’t an option for most of us. I am not sure how we promote less reliance on electronics and more interaction with fellow humans.  We need to feel more comfortable with community and relationships than anonymity and invisibility.
I have heard that our addiction to technology and specifically our smart phones is akin to substance addictions and I have no doubt (based on personal experience) that to be an accurate assessment. I know it will be painful but we need to shut down the electronic devices look someone in the eye and start an actual conversation. Then we will regain the enjoyment of human, face-to-face interaction.
So pardon me while I turn off my computer, put down my smart phone, and turn off the TV. I will fire up the old am radio, listen to Denny Mathew and the static call a Royals playoff game and pretend that it is the early 80s again. I just hope I didn’t forget to do any homework.

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