Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Staying in Touch in the 21st Century

Progress.  Supposedly that is what they call this age of constant communications that we live in.  But, I for one, am not so sure.

I have a cell phone.  It is in my purse.  It is not even on.  I have it for emergencies.  (I still have a land line.)  I used to tell people that if I was so important that I needed to have a phone with me all the time, I would also have a red phone next to my bed.  I am not and I don't.

I do not understand this attachment to phones and being in touch.  I see women older than I am constantly with the phone in their hand.  They are texting and talking and doing god knows what.  They can barely take a one-hour yoga class between playing with their phone.

I am planning a trip to Europe for three weeks.  I am debating whether to take my cell with international service for the month or just get a phone card.  I started thinking back to what I had done in the past when I was out of the country.

On my last trip to Europe I did not keep in touch at all.  I used no Internet, no phone.  Nothing.  If the world could not get along without me for eight days, then the world would just have to end.  It didn't.

In 2000, when I went off to Australia, I bought a phone card and gave my staff and my family the code for it.  We kept in touch that way by leaving phone messages since their day was my night.  It worked just fine.

The year before I was on a cruise with Internet access so I just emailed everyone if they needed something.  But that same year, I was also in Paris and did not communicate with home.  I did, however, take a photo of a woman at the top of the Eiffel Tower talking on her cell phone.  This beautiful view and she is standing their gabbing away on a phone. 

I was discussing this via email with one of my children.  I told him that the first time I went to Europe in 1969 the only communication I had from home was a bi-weekly pick-up of mail at the local American Express office.  Everyone I knew had an itinerary for the trip (it was originally for 16 weeks, but a death in the family cut it short after 10) with addresses and directions to make sure they mailed it to a stop further down on the list than where we were. 

Of course, back then I had no children or a job to worry about.  Now I still have no job, but I have a home and children.  I am sure they will be fine.  And if something happens at home, there is not much I can do from some mountain in Switzerland.

So now, I will head off and finish part of that original trip, 44 years later, only this time I will not be traveling with 'Europe on $5 a day' as my guide.  And I'll not be picking up mail at the Amex office.  I may not even 'phone home.'


  1. We carry a cell phone for emergencies. Not for other people's emergencies, but for ours. It's nice to know you can call for help if you need it. That's basically all we have our cell phone for. If you want us, use the land line or email me. Apart from anything else, it costs a frigging fortune.

  2. We have cell phones and that is the only way people (mostly our children) contact us so we discontinued our land line. We never used it and why pay for two phones but I don't use my cell phone much either, mainly for my kids and sometimes when I am bored I will surf the web but never while out with friends or sight seeing, heck usually I forget my phone or it gets buried at the bottom of my purse or backpack, if my children call they usually get my voicemail and complain that it takes me forever to answer them.

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

  3. I have a cellphone too, Denise, but I don't use it unless I have too. THat is, unless someone calls me or I have to talk to someone.
    I don't understand the fixation for being connected to the phone ALL the time either.
    I hope you enjoy your holiday to Europe. We shall see Europe through your eyes when you return.
    Stay safe and have a great time.


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