As I sit here composing this post, I am surrounded by a telephone, a cellphone, speakers, keyboards, printers, an iPod, and more. If I go to the bedroom, I have a radio/cd player, television, DVR, and an alarm clock. Now as I make my way mentally to the living room I will find a big old television, 5 speakers, a gaming system, clock, dvd player, DVR, cd player, a tuner, and more. I meander to the kitchen and see the coffee maker, telephone, refrigerator, dishwasher, huge mixer (baking is very cool)…and even more stuff.
When I was growing up I don’t remember freaking out because I couldn’t walk through our house talking on the phone. It was an ugly green, monster of a thing that hung on the wall and it had a cord that was forever long. I was 4 when we got our first television and it was a black and white, mediumish (I made that a new adjective) thing…and I remember watching Leave It To Beaver, Batman, Soap Operas ( I loved Dark Shadows) when I didn’t have school or if I was sick, and Saturday was all about American Bandstand with Dick Clark and I would dance around pretending I was on the show. We had 3 channels and I did not die when I would have to actually move to the television and turn the knob to a different channel. On laundry day, in the summer, it was my job to carry the wicker basket full of wet wash outside to hang it up with wooden clothespins. Wow..I just remembered how that tasted, because sometimes I would have to put one in my mouth to make my way down the clothesline as I was hanging up a sheet. Then there were the crazy clothes props that would slip off and the laundry would be touching the ground until I ran back outside to prop it up again.
My brother and I didn’t have a gaming system on the black and white television…we played Monopoly, Parcheesi, Sorry, or cards for days, or we would play outside all day long…everything from Kick the Can, Badmiton, Tag, and at night playing Ghost in the Graveyard with our neighbor friends was awesome. We also didn’t have cellphones. When it was time for us to come home we would hear our parents calling us or my dad would ring this big dinner bell that he attached to a wooden post. Our parents knew where we were and we knew to come home when we were called. In the winter, our dad would take us to the park so we could ice skate and freeze our rear ends off while having a really amazing time. We made snow angels, had snowball wars, snow forts, or we would stay in our rooms and read or I had a small AM transistor radio and I would enjoy listening to that.
Now, it seems like we are on this scary journey of being lost in an electronic jungle. I watch the kids in my neighborhood playing outside and they are forever stopping so they can text whoever they are texting and these are truly very young children. Really? Seriously? They just can’t play? Then I get in a car and the thing talks to you. What? What?? I used to love going to the gas station because they would always have a rack that held maps and they were free. I had a ton of those things because I liked knowing the names of the cities in our states. It was fun and often funny, because some of the names were hysterical. For example there is a Boring, Oregon…Intercourse, Pennsylvania…Accident, Maryland…Embarrass, Minnesota…Knockemstiff, Ohio….and I will stop now because I am laughing so hard it hurts…they are funny names and funnier still…I still remember them from the maps.
So it’s 2012. We have talking cars, talking coffee makers, talking washing machines, cellphones that you could probably marry and be very happy with. I am not against technology, electricity is good; but when is enough enough? As cool as some electronic things are, much of the rest seem to have made us lazy and less creative. We spend a fortune on things that will entertain us because we haven’t connected with our neighbors or stayed close to our families, and instead of hanging out in our backyards together or sharing a home cooked meal one night a week, we go to a movie that’s in 3D and we have to wear those funky glasses and after it’s all said and done we’ve spent about $100.00 for 2 people to be entertained and nothing to show for it.
If you want some real peace, I want to encourage you to do what I am going to do when I finish this…I am going to look at the electronic extras I have and give them away or sell them and if I had real courage I would recycle them and not feel guilty about it. Get to know your neighbors, have some family members over to play cards or something. Just go fishing and chill. Please back away from the electronic jungle before you lose yourself!
Sarah-Pink Welch ©2012
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