Remember the Days?

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Do you remember the days before cell phones, instant messages, texts, twitter, LinkedIn and facebook? Do you remember what it was like to actually plan in advance and make arrangements to meet at a specific day, time and location? And people actually showed up on time because they couldn’t call to say they were running late and/or change the plans?

I was IMing with a girlfriend (Lacey) this morning and I told her that my light wouldn’t stop blinking on my Verizon BlackBerry Pearl which tells me I have a message. I have cleared out all of my messages (from 4 emails boxes, facebook, twitter and GoogleTalk) and it still continues to blink. She suggested to turn off the phone for awhile and see if it resets.

Really? Turn OFF my phone? But how would I survive without it? It’s my connection to everyone and everything. So how did we survive before all of this technology we have become so addicted to??

I remember when I got a pager! Yes, a pager. I was a nanny during the summers while in college and I got a pager so the parents could reach me while I was out and about with the kids. When my pager would go off, I would need to run to find a payphone to call them back. I remember always having to make sure I had quarters on me so I could return their calls. I also remember a few times having to ask strangers around me to borrow a quarter to make a phone call. Strangers didn’t think twice about being asked this because it was a common occurance. But now, I can’t even remember the last time I was asked by someone to borrow a quarter for a phone call (sorry Grandad Jim!).

I was also telling Lacey that when I was 19 and then again a few years later, my best friend Shanna and I drove cross country. The first trip we took we didn’t have a plan and didn’t know where we were going to go. We only knew we had 5 days to make this trip and be back home for work. We would look at a map for something interesting to see and we’d drive there. Once we saw what we wanted to see there we would hop back in the car, look at a map and pick a new destination.
We ended up driving through South Dakota, Wyoming and Idaho before coming back home through Montana and North Dakota and then back to Minnesota and Wisconsin (where I lived at the time). We saw Mount Rushmore, the Rocky Mountains, YellowStone National Park (where I got pulled over the park police!) and much, much more. And we did this all without a cell phone! At one point the car overheated and broke down and we actually had to ask strangers for help. We would stop every few days and call home to my mom to let her know that we were ok and still alive. We couldn’t call Shanna’s mom because she thought we were just out at my cabin for a week and not on a cross country road trip! Several weeks later we’d get busted for taking that trip, but in the meantime, she didn’t have a clue! Dang those YellowStone brochures we left in the trunk of Shanna’s car.

And again, we did all of this without a cell phone. Ahhhh…. the good ol’ days.

I also remember making plans in advance in which we would set a date, time and place several days in advance to meet up for lunch, dinner, drinks, etc. We would try to do something spur of the moment, but if we called someone’s house and they weren’t home we would have to leave a message (on an answering machine!) and wait for the return call. And then when they would call back often times we would have left our house and would have to return that call back to them only to be stuck in a game of endless phone tag. So there went the spontaneity of trying to make last minute plans several days earlier which of course never happened.

Computers and email were not a part of everyday life yet either. I used to type my college papers on a typewriter. And I even had a cool typewriter that had a small viewing box and would show you approximately 25 characters in the box before it would type it to the actual paper. This would give you the opportunity to correct spelling and/or grammar mistakes before putting the ink to the paper and having to use white-out and then go back and try to realign the typewriter to retype the word correctly. Ahhh… the good ol’ days.

I had to work with 25 characters on a typewriter and now we complain about only having 140 characters on twitter (follow me!).

There were no GPS systems or GoogleMaps. We had to call someone (on their home/business phone) to ask for directions to a certain place. And most of the time the directions included statements such as “turn right at the yellow house” or “at the 5th stop sign, turn left”. I know I grew up in a small town where street names were very rarely used and this may not be the case for everyone, but you can relate to not having a GPS telling you turn for turn where to go and/or you didn’t have a print out from GoogleMaps to follow. If you got lost on your journey you had to figure it out for yourself and get back on track or ask for directions at a gas station. Again, ahhhh… the good ol’ days.

I could continue with all the fun memories and stories of how we survived without technology, but now it’s your turn to share your stories with me……

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