Do you ever stop to have a good old wonder about just how people got by without the mobile phones, the Internet and even the mobile Internet? Like, seriously duuuude even thinking about it is just way out man. It’s normally somewhere in the middle of my pondering about how people got by without these luxuries that I start to feel like an ignorant idiot, who really should be less reliant on their mobile map. Actually, a lot of the time the little blue dot makes me get more not less lost. Maybe I will start carrying an actual map around, well I would if it weren’t for the bulk this would add to my already sizeable handbag.
Really the question we should be asking isn’t how did people get by – that much is obvious, they had address books and real books and maps and wrote stuff down beforehand (duhh) – but how did they manage to carry so much with them whilst dressing (in most cases) way better than we do now? I don’t really know what romanticised era I’m talking about, maybe the 40s or 50s – certainly not the 80s or 90s when (I know) mobile Internet wasn’t in existence either. Fashion wasn’t great then either.
Anyway, we might think our lives are a mess and difficult to juggle but actually they’re a lot smoother (or are they?) with all these new inventions. Just imagine having to actually ask at the ticket office which train you should get, where you should change and how long you might expect that to take. Ha! Actually I quite like it when things go wrong with the trains (not drastically, just a little bit) and you have to strike up a conversation with the ticket inspector about what other connection you might be able to get. It’s nice, strikes up a sense of solidarity in the mission to get you to your destination.
The most interesting thing I think, though, with all these new technologies altering the way we go about our daily lives is how it’s effected our communications with each other. A text message can, seemingly, communicate that you are thinking of someone without even necessarily having to say it. Mobile phones are great because they allow us to communicate with people we care about more frequently and with greater ease, but are we seeing a decline in actual meaningful communications? Many people, I think, would rather send text messages throughout the day than wait until the end of the day to have a longer chat. A lot of the reasoning for this is, of course, those long born shackles of time but I also think we are becoming less at ease with these sorts of conversations. No more the weekly telephone call to mother or partner, so long the days of the love letter.
The thing is, most of us even if we yearn for these vanishing forms of communication, would rather have regular – daily – contact than wait until the end of the week. We live in a culture of ‘now’; we have to feel that everything is happening now, that the people we love are okay NOW, they still love us NOW and no we can’t wait to tell them about that thing that happened on the train later we have to tell them NOW whilst we’re still on the train.