Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Too Technology Available

Abby says:
I love technology. It enables me to work from home when I want to. It enables me to work from my car when I need to. I can see and work off of my office PC network from any computer in the world as long as it has an Internet connection. But, it also makes me available to the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If I don’t return an email within 24 hours people get testy with me. Even when I go on vacation, people think I should return their emails. There’s something wrong here.

There is also something wrong with me. I love to hang on the Internet – all the time. I love to correspond with my friends via email. I cannot stand to be away from the computer – even on the weekends I am Googling stuff I want to know.

What happened to those summers when none of us had cell phones? I went to work at the pool as a lifeguard and was basically unavailable for hours on end. We went to pay phones if we absolutely had to call someone. I remember when I was a teenage swimmer, only kids whose mom or dad were doctors had any type of technology device – and it was limited to a pager so the hospital could reach them. When away from home they returned their pages on pay phones.

I sold the original car phones in 1987 when I briefly worked for Bell South. They were the gigantic monstrosities that came in big, zippered nylon bags. We thought we had arrived. Then there were the big phones that actually mounted into your car console. Look how far we’ve come in 20 years. Now, my phone has the complete Microsoft Office package, email and Internet access. It’s fun but I never truly get away from it all.

I guess I need to get a life.

Sheri says:
I am not as technologically savvy as Abby. But, I do have my cell phone strapped to me most of the time and I get little palpitations when I cannot get to a computer.

In my youth, we did not have cell phones. There was no Internet. It was possible to disappear for hours at a time. College was basically a party line and you could convince someone to lie to your parents. “Yes, she’s in the library.”

There’s something freeing about not being able to be found. I suspect none of us will ever know this feeling again. I feel sorry for our children, even though I’m glad I can hunt them down.

I take vacations. I rarely take one without my laptop. I am never without my cell phone. This sounds very nostalgic but, I miss the days when no one could reach you.

Try explaining that one to your children.

Abby says:
I forgot to mention. When Sheri and I worked together at Banc One Corporation, I remember taking a tour in the main vault off-site. It was a building filled with the brains of the bank – big rooms with big, floor-to-ceiling computers. I also remember the personal computers on our desks; they were huge and used those very old-fashioned floppy discs (and I mean really “floppy). I also remember the day we installed email in the marketing department – it was archaic compared to what we have today but we thought we were cool. I also remember when our office first got voice mail. My mom would call and leave me a message and say “Please pick up if you are there. Can you hear me? Abby, pick up”. Obviously, she did not get the concept.

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