The telecom boom doesn’t solve all of society’s woes

We are closing in on the 120th year of flight. That is rather amazing in its own right. Flying made the world closer, in certain respects. One needs to look at the good with the bad and flying has had plenty of both in those century-plus years.

The tele-communication boom will be the “turn of the century” bookmark of social history. One only has to go on social media to find more than enough of the good and the bad.

I keep a semi-running commentary on politics and society with my college friend, Paul, who lives in Tokyo. It is rather amazing that we both can communicate with one another at such speed and such a distance. It’s easy. Just look at your phone and view the clock you set for Tokyo. Then, if you are super bored, take a picture of yourself — known in today’s lingo as a “selfie”– and just for the hell of it you can take a look at the compass on your phone to find what direction is Tokyo. Or what direction your life is taking. All of this with a phone and more.

My iPhone is probably the best digital camera I have had to date. I’ve used some professional digital cameras, the big suckers real “shooters” for the media use. Or at least used to use. It’s been some 10 years since I have used one. The iPhone is better than my Fujifilm XP. It is time to upgrade to a better digital camera, if I can find one that is better than my iPhone and is as affordable.

I didn’t come here to talk about cameras, you might be surprised to hear. I just wanted to make a notation about life before cell phones. It wasn’t all that long ago, if you don’t call 30 years or so long ago. Maybe a 30-year-old does.

My pick of three decades is arbitrary. That dates back to the year I graduated from college, which was 10 years after I graduated from high school, joined the Navy, was discharged honorably and became a professional firefighter. Actually, I want to pick the days I worked as a firefighter and just afterwards when for two whole semesters I was nothing but a bearded college student. Then as well include that time right after I graduated and moved to a new town. That is when I dated Liz. More on her later.

The first apartment I rented in college was adjoined by two and then later about four other apartments. I had two different neighbors living — one after another — in the apartment in the back of the building. Both were girls. Both were very cute girls. I dated one later on, during the time I worked at my first job out of college. I imagine I should have dated the other one instead.

I had my first very own landline phone in my apartment. So did Liz, the girl who was literally, as the Cars song went, “my best friend’s girl.” The late, great Waldo and Liz been long split by the time she and I dated.

But awhile before that short “bliss,” I remember Liz calling me one morning after I came home from my shift at the fire station. She asked me if I could turn my music down.

“Sure. Happy to.”

The girl who moved in after Liz moved out worked with my sometimes girlfriend back then, Karen. I can’t remember if Debbie, my neighbor had a phone. If she did, she never called me. That’s because she could just walk next door. If my car was home Debbie would knock. We didn’t really need a phone to communicate. For instance, Debbie came outside one morning as I was about to go for a jog. She asked how far I was going. I said about two miles. So she asked if she could go.

“Sure. Damn straight!”

In ran Debbie who quickly pulled on a pair of sweats. Man, if only more women could wear a set of sweats like Debbie! I wouldn’t call running enjoyable but along with some weights and jumping rope, and racquetball, it helped keep me in shape for fighting fires. I would call it enjoyable running with Debbie.

I remember Debbie telling me after I moved to the shotgun shack, that Karen said she would have to work somewhere else if Debbie and I went out, or whatever one would call it back then. I don’t think it would have bothered Debbie. Or Karen either. Things could get complicated.

My friends rarely bothered calling to tell me they were coming to visit back then. When I moved out to the farm, some might call just to make sure I was there. But even if I wasn’t there, some would still park at the locked gate and hang out. Others who knew the location of the spare gate key would “come on in!” It was a nice place, the country.

Now it seems one has to let others know when you have to take a crap. Not that I tell anyone, that’s a metaphor, or a simile or personification or whatever the hell it is.

Perhaps the communication revolution doesn’t answer the big social questions, like why  did I date Liz and not Debbie? I guess it just wasn’t to be, damn it to hell! It is an outcome that can’t be solved with an iPhone and a You Tube video of a dancing monkey.