?`s and ANNEswers

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Becoming Obsolete

After my experience at the Olive Garden yesterday, I’ve taken to wondering how previous generations felt about the inventions in their lifetimes that threatened what they knew best.

Did farmers think motorized vehicles were silly when horses could pull surreys to church? Did authors think the typewriter robbed them of the creative act of writing? And what about television, the precursor of the technology we have today?

I grew up in a world where automobiles had overtaken the horse and the typewriter was morphing into the computer.  As for television, well, the little seven inch screen that my mother had when I was ten would probably be consigned to the Smithsonian if it were able to be found. That was at the middle of the last century.

Most things we take for granted weren’t even invented twenty-five years ago, much less fifty.  Add to that the notion that information is expanding exponentially, and it’s no wonder that someone born in the middle of the last century might feel obsolete.

It’s not that I don’t embrace the “new”; it’s just that there are certain things about the “old” I want to keep. Mostly they center on human connectedness.

Time was when people sat down to a meal and talked with each other instead of texting and Googling®.  I understand today’s family often has two working parents and less time to make dinner a social occasion; but I liked it better that way.

Time was when life was less frenetic because there were fewer distractions from text messages, cell phone calls, Facebook, etc.  I use all these things, but I like it better when someone calls my landline and I sit down to a tethered chat. I give my full attention.

Time was when everything wasn’t “instant.”  George Carlin once wondered why there was one-hour photo processing when you just left the people you photographed.  Now everything is in real time, and one hour is an eternity. I liked it better the other way.

I suspect that as time passes I’ll feel more and more disenfranchised. Less and less savvy. Maybe even more disgruntled. The question is: Is this fine with me?

And the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

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