Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Longing for the Good Old Days

I'm dashing around getting ready to leave for England tomorrow and I find myself longing for the good old days. And I don't just mean the days when flying was fun, airport workers were courteous, friends strolled right up to the plane to bid farewell, and they actually fed you real food.

I'm thinking more of the speed of our lives. Of the need for instant communication. Of all those people who whip out their cell phones as the wheels touch the tarmac and shout, "We just arrived."
When a member of my family went to Australia in the early 1900s the family didn't hear for six months that she had arrived safely. Actually when I went across Europe alone for the first time at the age of 12 I wrote my parents a letter to say I had arrived. Telephoning would have been unthinkable--expensive and the long distance lines were one big crackle.

I've been reminded this morning of all the annoyances and inconveniences that this age brings with it. I find on my computer two lots of contracts I have to sign and return. While I love getting contracts it's one more thing to do today. And I'm having major Facebook troubles: someone I didn't know tried to friend me on my personal friends page. This page is now reserved for a few personal friends. All my activity is on my author page. (Rhys Bowen, author) So I sent him a message telling him this--and got blocked with a warning by Facebook for trying to friend someone I didn't know.  Is this screwy or what?

One more small frustration that makes me long for the days when the cheery mail man came up my path at seven in the morning. When people actually met to have chats. And spoke in real sentences. And children played real games involving balls and bats and didn't kill people on Gameboys.
Oh my goodness--I am sounding like an old timer! But do you wish for a return to a slower, simpler age?

Off tomorrow. Stay tuned.


  1. Have a safe and fun trip, Rhys! I cannot find you when I search for you on facebook--no author page. Is it searchable?

  2. Nevermind. I went to your website and clicked on the FB link there. :)

  3. Have a wonderful time, Rhys. I look forward to your reports.

    Yesterday I would not have agreed about this with you, but I woke up today feeling overwhelmed by instantaneous feedback and volumes of unwanted information with requests for the same. I wanted to go back to my family's camp in the woods and write with pencil and paper, the way I did when I was a little girl.

    Thoughts came smoothly then. The words did not appear before I was ready to write them. The pencil waited until I had it worked out. People were happy with a little card and a thoughtful comment.

    When I went to college there were no personal computers. An essay was 3 - 5 pages.

    My first year in graduate school, we had a lab with computer terminals that retrieved information from the mainframe in Los Angeles. We could write a report on the terminal, retrieve the information when done writing, and print our papers in the lab. Papers were expected to be 5 - 6 pages.

    My third year of graduate school the lab had personal computers. Papers were expected to be 8 - 10 pages.

    During my fourth year everyone had their own computers at home. The typical assignment was 18 - 20 pages.

    By the time I was tutoring masters level students, everyone had laptops, and a term paper was expected to be "... no more than 40 pages." Three or 4 of these were assigned for each course, each term.

    I think I know why I am tired and feel I am overloaded with information. I am. I receive too much. I give out too much. I don't know how to slow it down. I want to thank you for your observations. I don't know yet how I will deal with my new understanding, but I feel better armed to face the world today. Thank you, Rhys.

  4. Do you remember having to write an outline and organize your thoughts before you typed anything...

    I've e-cycled my television, that's a good first step.