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GUEST COLUMN: Cell phones…a blessing or curse?

By Nadine Wark In today’s busy world, some will say “we have come a long way with communication” while others will say “bring back the good old days.

By Nadine Wark

In today’s busy world, some will say “we have come a long way with communication” while others will say “bring back the good old days.” 

The younger generation have welcomed all the social media available with the older folks skeptical and continually asking for help. Who do you ask for ‘cheap help’…try a young grandchild!

In the case of that unique little hand-held gizmo, it has certainly changed lives. 

One can connect with family across the world, even set up a video call where faces are viewed on the screen. 

For grandparents it is a real convenience and a way to stay connected with the grandchildren.

In the good old days, dial phones were all we had. They were not streamlined in any way but kind of clunky and some had long cords where teens could go behind a door for a ‘private chat.’ 

I vaguely remember party lines where people could listen to all the gossip around town…’She did what?! Oh my! Did you actually see her leave?’ or ‘Martha went to the salon and her hair is now a bright orange!’

As a young girl, I remember the phone at my aunt’s farm in Inwood, a square contraption attached to the wall of the kitchen and it had to be to ‘cranked’ to get an operator, then tell her the number or name of the party you wished to call (think Lily Tomlin…one ringy-dingy, etc.).

While working at a local engineering firm many years ago, I did relief coverage for the switchboard operator and had to learn an old-fashioned board with all the cords. 

A line would light up, I would plug in a cord to answer, then placed a second cord into the correct extension. Sometimes the cords would be a mass of tangled chaos and very challenging!

Today’s compact cellphones can be carried in one hand and the other hand used for clicking and connecting with world-wide contacts, friends, family, internet access, google search, games to play if so inclined, checking the weather, facebook, emails, instagram and so much more!

It’s enough to make your head spin.

It once seemed odd to see people walking down the street with either cellphones at their ears or head down sending or reading a message. Now it is odd if you pass by someone empty-handed on the street and they actually say hello!

More than once I have witnessed, (I am sure others have too), kids at playgrounds with their parents, who are sitting on a bench ‘supervising’ as their kids yell at them for a little praise and attention for what they are accomplishing. 

But there they are, heads down frantically clicking away. 

As children grow, moments and memories are lost.

Nadine has been a short-story writer for many years and published in several local magazines and newspapers.
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