1980s, Hearing problems, technology

Is it Just Me?

I think the flat calls started in the nineties. Newer, thinner, flatter, and cheaper phones took over from those receivers that hugged the ear, directing the sound of a voice right into the ear. The ringer was adjustable, and the curly cord was useful for winding onto the fist for tense calls or just because nothing felt as neat as puling that cord until it was straight. As time passed, Ma Bell didn’t even rent phones anymore. Anyone could go to the local Walmart and buy one, or a person could get a two-for deal, perhaps three if there are three places to put phones. The features on these new landline phones proved excellent, especially the caller ID and video, plus, plus, plus etc. But the receivers are almost perfectly flat. And we use cells mostly now, so I highly doubt a phone will be anything but flat forevermore. This is progressive technology.

Cells are the thing now, of course. Portable and thin, pretty much weightless. Blue tooth in vehicles, so honest to God, no one needs to miss a call now. But back to the point here: phones are flat. If I’m on my cell and there’s background noise, I can’t hear who I’m talking to; not without making a face, you know, the face like there’s great and sudden pain in the eye or tooth. One eye all winked shut, mouth looks like I’m chewing grizzle as I press that thing to my face. Maybe it’s just my antique Blueberry phone. Maybe it’s everyone’s cell phone or fancy landline phone. Flat. Hard to hear sometimes. Is it just me?

I won’t keep you long. I just want to make my point, which is, in the photo I’m showing you this gadget someone should get massive credit for. I must google it and see if I can send an email of undiluted praise. I found it in a thrift shop. My hubby was with me, so I called his cell. Well, well, look at that. It works. I wiped it down with alcohol and I’m back in the curly cord eighties, only with my ancient Blueberry cell connected. I love it. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, it has the volume control on the side.

Just one itty bitty thing, though. Since I’m an original sixties human myself, I’m trained to hang up a “phone off the hook” as we called it. So I see my eighties receiver on the end table and it sucks me in every time, just for a second, but still— somebody’s gotta hang up that phone.

Thanks for reading.

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past the season lights, suspicious neighbours, Uncategorized

Seems It’s Never Too Late For Christmas Lights

So many people have the same problem with the cold. Travelling the side streets, resting Christmas lights are common. It’s too friggin’ cold to take them down. They just hang there, unlit, unremarkable, collecting street salt mist since it’s January 29th.

From my back door window, across the street, a blaze continues nightly. It’s not an elaborate scene, but Christmas lights burning nonetheless. One porch railing has white lights, the other golden, soft white. A wrapping of pine needle rope is decorated with blue, green, and red lights. There’s a wreath in the midst of it. It’s lit up, too. Balls hang off the rope—what’s left of them. Looks like a solitary Santa hanging there as well, clinking against lights when the wind blows. The whole lawn is illuminated by this created light fest.

I’m not in the least bothered by this—because I don’t have to take it all down and find a space to cram it, but I’m amused. I’m in the habit now of looking each night to see if they’ve decided it’s too late for Christmas lights. Seems it’s not ever too late. But it’s late  January now… the Christmas ship has sailed so to speak.

When will they take their Christmas lights down? Maybe they won’t. These neighbours are elderly. Not ancient, but grey poking out from their wooly hats says they probably don’t care what others think. We get to an age when the important issues are: did the bran work?; trying not to forget where we just set down a mug of coffee; when’s my kid coming to show me how to manage the latest technology of the snazzy elliptical needed for exercise; where’s the Tylenol, and who ate the last of the damn ice cream. So let the lights burn. It’s too much to remove them in the cold, and why waste a display.  Live for what’s important.

I suppose if the colours are still lit next month, I should ask if they’d like help. But what if they push me off the porch with a broom. What if they call the cops because I’m trepassing? See? This is the thing. Sometimes neighbours we don’t really know are grateful for help, sometimes they’re too suspicious. I could get my ass kicked by a couple married of forty years. Don’t laugh. These people could own cast iron frying pans. I can barely pick, never mind cook with it.

But if I don’t ask, I may be able to amuse myself throughout the summer with the countdown until those lights are valid once again.

Live and let lights burn. I’d post a photo, but I didn’t want to step foot near the lights for fear of a small, fast dog. Those little ones have a good aim. Their bite surely is as bad as their bark. Haha~ Well, that’s it. All I had to say.

Thanks for reading.

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Human Behaviour, Human Nature, technology

Disconnect and Disrespect

A glance at a cell phone’s screen, and the decision is made to ignore or answer. Or the cell is shut off thus giving the servant of it pause from notifications etcetera. However, these days a cell contains the world and all its information—and people, so it is everything and everyone being shut out when the cell’s off.

One problem with this is adult kids have aging parents. Sometimes it takes many hours for a call to be noticed, and by then a parent might already be processed and in a morgue. This sounds dramatic, however, it’s a reality of disconnection.

With social media, being connected is also being disconnected. For instance, I often go to my favourite coffee shop alone to have a coffee break from my writing work. More often than not I see two at a table, coffee steaming, and cells in hands. An actual caller rings, gets a glance, and is ignored. As much as we think we’re more connected with fellow humans, we couldn’t be more wrong.

Respect is denied. The cell seems to dictate decisions. Answering a text is somehow easier than hearing a live voice. “Text me,” is more common than “Call me.” Ignoring a caller is more common than simply making a call short, yet humans subscribe to Bluetooth in their car.

I observe this and feel justified for not having data on my cell. I use it to hear my husband’s voice tell me he is safe on his dangerous job. I have a desk top computer. I have a landline. If I’m missing something, I’m yet to notice.

A cell phone is a tool which has become the unscrupulous, multitasking master of human minds, and aging parents often have no way to reach their kids. Landlines are antiquated. Disrespect is fresh and alive; it’ll be a while before it’s outdated.

Thanks for reading~

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Humanity, technology

Cell and Chain

PING-DING-RING THING

What started out as fun has become, well, not fun. And dangerous perhaps.

I’m driving and I see this kid propped up by his handlebars, on a banana seat and he half-ass steers himself away from me. He lifts his face and takes a brief, hurried look at the road, but not me. I slow down, look at him texting on his rusty handlebars. Wait now… yeah—no—he’s on Facebook. On a bike. On the road. I say, “Hey, guy. Are you not worried about getting hit?” I think it sounded like I was patient and calm. Good. ‘Cause I feel like I appeared snotty. Kids have a sense of entitlement; I very much dislike their attitudes. Nonetheless, I love teens.

He let his foot drag and stopped the bike. He shrugs, shakes his head. He said, “Who made you the texting police?” Pushes off and scrolls, peddling slowly.

I want to get mad and tell him he’s dense. But I feel sorry for the kid. He’s riding alone, but in the company of Facebook users. What does this kid do when winter storms fill the roads? I suppose he just walks. He seems to be going nowhere, and maybe it doesn’t matter if he arrives anywhere. Traffic was coming, I had to move on. I said, “Careful, okay?”

He nodded, and I think the corner of his mouth raised his cheek. Briefly, though. Just for a sec.

When we baby boomers were that kid’s age, we all had bikes and we ran in packs. We didn’t even know what a cordless house phone was. We had Packman, Archie magazines, and we twisted the curly phone cord around our fingers while making plans to meet up or drop by each others’ homes. If our parents were on the phone we walked blocks and blocks to each others’ home. We did not know that so-and-so just made delicious spaghetti. We didn’t know what a profile pic was. Photos were at home in an album or box. Summer nights we played hide and go seek in neighbours’ back yards. The people in my neighbourhood couldn’t afford fences, so we got it goin’, running like untamed beasts.

Humans are distracted by ping-ding-ring thing noises.  Some keep their phone off, many do not. My hubby is a commodities relocation manager. This means he drives transport. He gets lonely and bored, so my cell phone rings off his Bluetooth. It makes me tense when I’m driving. I hope nothing has happened to him. A pretty Zen harp. I used to like it, but I throw up a little in my throat when it rings now. I think I’m an introvert, pretty sure. I couldn’t be hooked into the texting thing or social media on the go. I prefer to write in peace on my desktop, and go out to get away from me. If that makes any sense? To me it’s a cell and chain, I’d have it off mostly if I didn’t have to be available in case my hubby got hurt on the highway.  No ping-ding-ring thing all day long for me, thanks.

I am curious, however, about how humans manage the distractions of the cell sounds.  I have the attention span of a common goldfish, so I just won’t deal with such interruptions when I’m trying not to speed in my car. ADD they said. That means Attentional Daydream Disorientation. Not so bad; not ideal.

Thanks for reading~

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