Who to heck ever said, “Patience is a Virtue?” Well, we actually do know where that term came from, but it certainly didn’t consider the world we live in today.
As I think back to around 1976 when I went to work in my field, it was certainly acceptable to not hear back from another within the first 24 hours of reaching out. We didn’t have smartphones, cellphones or the internet—damn, I’m really aging myself now.
I did have a tape machine at home that I could call into once or twice a day, that is if I could find a phonebooth and had a coffee can full of change to make the calls with. Eventually, we were given calling cards. They were like a credit card but allowed you to punch in about a dozen numbers rather than insert two dozen coins into the payphone.
When I started in my business, I handled the New England States as my territory. I’m not lying when I tell you it was awfully cold during the winter months while standing inside a phone booth trying to make those calls as you stood shivering and trying to stick those coins in that tiny slot. The summer thunderstorms were no treat either as you’d stand there soaking wet at times.
Then came the age of the pager, when the gal would take a message and beep you so you could call in and listen to her complain she didn’t know what the person was talking about and inevitably give you the wrong number to call back.
Thank God the push–button phone came into existence and the person could just call the pager number and input their return number, allowing you to call them directly. Of course, you didn’t know what they wanted unless you established a code for ASAP or “when you can.” However, it always ended up being an ASAP call, regardless of the reason.
Of course, I could reminisce for days on the advent of the cellphone. My first one was like a two-way radio, where you picked up the handset and gave the operator the number you wanted to call.
Now, if you remember those days, you’ll remember the first bill you got for that service. You’d better have been sitting down when you opened that envelop. After that shock wore off, you made sure you never gave that number out again and only used it on occasion.
Today’s cellphone is a far cry from those first ones and reminds us of the old Dick Tracey movies and comic books where the world’s greatest detective spoke into his watch. Who would have ever believed that technology is a standard today?
I happen to think that it is one of the finest gadgets you can have, especially as we all grow older. Who doesn’t worry about their parents falling and injuring themselves with no one around or the phone being nearby so they can call for assistance, right from their wrist?
You can also use your watch to monitor your heart rhythm, count your calories, the number of steps you take in a day and even what your blood sugar is. Good God, that really is too much information, isn’t it?
It’s amazing how far technology has taken us in today’s world. It screams directions to us from our cellphones, reminds us we are late for meetings and provides us with the world at our fingertips through Siri on our iPhones or Google on our Android devices.
Has it made us better people? I’m not sure it has. It can make us more productive, but what has it cost us? Has it cost us our ability to relate to each other on a personal basis? Look around you in a restaurant and see whether parents and children talk to each other, or do they just play on their gadgets?
Schools have stopped teaching cursive as a writing technique. I’m told many children have difficulty reading if it is done in the cursive style, and in my opinion that is ridiculous. Maybe some of you also remember the penmanship instructor in grade school during the week, I know I do. No matter how hard I tried it always seemed the gals always had better penmanship.
The other day I was standing in line at the pharmacy while a woman was explaining in detail how unhappy she was in her relationship at home. I’m not sure everyone in a six–foot radius wanted to know the intimate details, but we couldn’t help but hope that Dr. Phil was her next stop.
A friend of mine locally who was trying to hire a position which would deal directly with the public was astonished how many of the applicants came to apply so shabbily dressed or unable to carry on a normal conversation.
As a society we have progressed and made great strides in technology, but as individuals what have we given up? Maybe we should take a step back and take a deep breath. Take a few minutes out of the day and talk to each other and not at each other.
Turn off the gadgets, unplug the electronic leashes and take a deep breath. Say good morning to a stranger and just exchange a pleasantry or two with someone you don’t know or reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
You’ll be amazed how much more you’ll enjoy life if you take the time to just take some pleasure at what you do accomplish.