Old style phone switchboard
We often hear people talking with nostalgia about ‘the good old days’. Depending on the age of the person they could be referring to a particular decade or a longer period of time. When I think back to life in the sixties and seventies I remember some aspects fondly. However, overall I would rather be living in the current decade with the convenience of modern technology.
I am not one to rush out to buy all the mod cons. Much of modern technology is too complicated for me to get my head around and I can’t see the need for it in my own life. Still, there are some items I would not want to be without. I love my computer and the internet. I only use a few of the features of both but I would miss them so much if I didn’t have them.
I recall writing essays by hand back in the seventies. My rough copy would be a mess, a mass of arrows, words crossed out and replacements squeezed into any available space. Sometimes I would want to put a paragraph in a different place so I would cut out the paragraph with a scissors and use sticky tape to place it where I wanted it. Eventually I would carefully rewrite the complete essay so my lecturer could read and mark it. Toward the end of my studies I used a typewriter which was a bit better but nowhere near as good as a computer.
A few years ago I returned to uni study and certainly appreciated the convenience of using a computer for essays. It was great being able to save my essay as I wrote it, alter things at the flick of a key and have a piece of work that was neat enough to read even in its draft form.
I could research from the comfort of my home at any hour of the day or night making use of the internet. This was so much easier than putting books on reserve and spending endless hours in the library. The ability to access so much current information was a boon.
I love the convenience of the internet. Email allows me to send a message with attachments. It is great to be able to attach word documents or photos. The speed is convenient too.
Internet banking, direct debit and managing accounts online are conveniences we have become used to. Modern technology does have some drawbacks and we have all moaned about computers that have crashed. Technology taking away the personal touch in business can be frustrating and a worry for people whose jobs are replaced by machines. Don’t get me started on the frustration of dealing with call centres.
The digital camera was a wonderful invention. I can carry my small camera with me whenever I go out. It even fits in my pocket. It is possible to take hundreds of snaps and they can be edited when I get home.
I remember a time of living without a home phone and the mobile had not been invented. A neighbour said family could contact me on her phone in an emergency. There was a phone box near the first place I rented. Standing in the phone box in all sorts of weather was not conducive to making regular calls to family and friends. These days it is easier to keep in touch.
When I moved to the outskirts of a country town I was a couple of kilometres from the phone box. The night I stepped on a scorpion with my bare foot I regretted not having a phone in the house. I was so relieved to get to the phone box outside the post office and speak to a doctor who told me there are no deadly scorpions in Australia.
These days I have a land-line and a mobile phone. The mobile phone has advantages and many is the time I have been grateful for being able to contact someone when I am away from my land-line. Fortunately there is message bank and my mobile can be turned off if I don’t wish to be contacted.
There certainly are plenty of problems in modern life. The media is quick to alert us to the bad things happening in our own country and beyond. However, let's remember some of the distressing things we are hearing about now in regard to child abuse actually happened decades ago.
Even with the negative aspects of modern life in mind, I still prefer to be living right now. I wouldn’t want to step into a time machine and turn the dial to some date in the past.
# The Past