My generation is one of the last, if not the last, to remember regularly using a landline. When the phone rang at my house, someone picked it up, and the rest of the family was usually in ear shot of the entire conversation. There was only so far you could go, literally. When someone called us, I could tell by the tone of my mom’s voice whether it was good news or bad news. When it was bad news, I remember pretending not to listen, but in reality, hanging on every word. If it was bad news, unless the person could come over, he or she always called.
Nowadays, the land of landlines is long gone. I’m going to have to explain them to my kids, along with the concept of a family sharing a phone, not a minutes and data plan. With the changing technology, how we communicate our good news and bad news has changed, too.
On day one of my Facebook fast, I got a text from my boyfriend that essentially said I know you gave up Facebook for Lent, but just so you know, so-and-so had to go to the hospital last night. Here I was, day one, and something serious had already happened. Granted, there was at least one person who knew I had given up Facebook and thoughtfully let me know my friend had gone to the hospital, but a part of me wondered: what if he had never said anything?
When I decided to give up Facebook, I didn’t really think I’d miss “much.” But Wednesday reminded me that much is always going on, and Facebook is one of our norms for communicating it — the good and the bad. I was able to visit my friend and all is looking up, but I’ve already been reminded of just how different life can be when you’re disconnected.