Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Ode to Land Lines

Land lines are obviously becoming obsolete. Our parents' generation still has them, but we don't. I'm feeling nostalgic for land lines these days, though. They're in the same boat as real paper books, magazines and newspapers. 

I miss the days when I wasn't connected to a phone at all times, when I could be out and about and unreachable for short periods of time. Remember back when people had to be alone with their thoughts while doing errands, or while waiting in line at a coffee shop?

A funny thing happened this past Friday, involving a Tweet of mine. (Yes, I embrace social media while also keeping one foot firmly grounded in more traditional media.)

After tweeting the below 140 characters last Friday morning, my phone stopped working.

to the girl @Starbucks this AM holding up the line because she was gabbing on her cell abt #mercuryretrograde slowing things down.. really?!

I felt compelled to tweet about the absurdity of the situation. Plus, as a yogi, I love a good mercury in retrograde reference. Anyway, this girl in front of me, Donna, was responsible for the holdup of a sizable Starbucks line of grumpy New Yorkers in need of their fix. Donna was yelling into her phone, trying to explain to some poor soul on the other end what it means for mercury to be in retrograde. Donna said something along the lines of: IT MAKES EVERYTHING SLOWER! She was clearly frustrated about something amiss in her life, a miscommunication potentially caused by the planets.

All the while, Donna wasn't paying attention to anything in her immediate vicinity. A befuddled Starburcks barista tried yelling "next" about 400 times before I gently tapped Donna on the shoulder to move along. Afterwards, I felt compelled to tweet about the absurdity of the situation. 

Later that day, I took the subway downtown towards home, one of the last places in the city where people are forced to disconnect. During my commute I disconnected for about 20 minutes and caught up on the October Vogue. When I resurfaced, I was eager to check my phone for messages and make some calls to plan the evening. But...wait. Call failure. I tried my husband 11 times, to no avail. I couldn't make or receive calls or texts for the duration of the night. And I had no backup, no land line.

F-ing mercury in retrograde?! Or was it my social media karma? Donna, I'm sorry for picking on you. Maybe I was too harsh in the moment (like many people on Twitter). We can't get so caught up in our digital lives that we forget to maintain good manners with those physically close to us. Especially when mercury is in retrograde.


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