Friday, May 28, 2010

Telephone Line

The other day, I posted about getting a phone call and had a little memory flashback to when I had to shut myself in the pantry just to have a private conversation on the family phone.

Yesterday, I had a hair appointment and had to go to a different hair stylist then I normally visit. She and I started talking and laughing about phones and cell phones. Phones must be the running theme of my week because last night at the awards night, the principal cautioned the kids about texting and to turn off all cell phones. Some parents sitting around me started to grumble about kids/phones/texting and how in the minds of the teens, they would crumble up without a cell or without texting abilities. I am usually quick to laugh at that but last night, my mind flashed back to my hairstylist and our phone conversation and it really made me think.

Are the teens, today, really that much different then the teens (my generation) of the mid to late 1970s? I mean, I realize the downfall of the teens of today and their communication skills and their inability for many of them to use proper spelling and the rudeness of public texting and the rudeness of the public phone conversations. And, I know this because I have blogged about it. And, yes, many adults are just like teens and don't know when to just shut it down.

But, my thought process wasn't about all the above. My thought process transported me back to my days of a young teen. Let's face it, teen lives have always centered around a telephone. But, in the 70s, you couldn't very well rip the wall phone out of the kitchen and take it with you to make calls. We were actually prisoners of our house telephones and prisoners of our houses until that very important phone call came through. I mean, if you were hoping for that one hottie to call and schedule a date, or if you were waiting for plans with friends or if you were waiting on a call to tell where the weekend party would take place, you had no choice but to wait. Like, sit right next to the phone. If you got in the shower, and the call came through, you missed the ring, and you were out of luck. My younger brother would basically take no messages for me nor would he tell me I even had any calls. If you left the house, and missed the call, you would be driving around aimlessly with no date and no friends with no clue where the party was because we didn't have cell phones with us.

So you sat and watched television and did homework and listened to music and painted your fingernails all while waiting for the phone. Just like the teens of today being chained to their cell phones, we were chained to our house phones.

The concept is not new on the telephone topic. We all planned our lives around phone calls. We just couldn't be mobile about it. We weren't connected 24/7 to everyone in the universe. But secretly, and I will never tell my teen this, a cell phone would have been a great item to have for my teen social life. I cannot even count the wasted hours that went by as I sat waiting for the phone to ring. And, just to be sure the phone was in working order, you picked up really quickly to check for the dial tone. Only to quickly hang up and hoped that the important call did not come through in that second.

Teens and phones...I really do believe it's not a new concept but I think it taught us patience and it gave us time to get things done while waiting for the important call and it taught us that instant gratification was not going to happen. Teens of today do not know the art of the anticipated phone call and the elation felt when the phone rang and it was that person or people. They get all of their calls and texts in the flash of a second from 100 people all at once.

I sort of like that I was part of one of the last generations that planned their lives around staring at a silent phone. I learned a lot in the long time spans of waiting. How could you not when it was only you, a silent phone and your stereo...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And many of my friends had party lines. That added a whole new dimension to the telephone calls! Dawnrv