Linda Stamper Boyne: Light speed of communication
Vail, CO, Colorado
Every now and then, the speed with which we communicate confounds me.
We are such an immediate society. Now. Now! Everything has to happen right now!
Thanks to the proliferation of the cell phone, we can reach pretty much anyone whenever we want. In fact, I think we’re annoyed when we can’t. Texting, instant messages, email on our cell phones, social media. We can’t communicate fast enough.
And with the newest iteration of the iPhone, we don’t even have to put fingers to screen to send a text. Merely speak the message and who it’s meant for into the phone, and it will be sent. It’s almost like, well, talking on the phone. Combined with Facetime, Apple has sent the average iJoe on the street into the Jetsonian era.
It makes me a little nostalgic for a different time, a time when we moved at a slower pace. When we didn’t expect an immediate response to every communication. Not that I would want to go back to that time, mind you, for I have evolved along with the methods of communication.
But I find it fascinating to look back from whence we came. It gives everything perspective. To that end, I have compiled my list of my favorite outmoded means of communication. Come walk down Memory Lane with me.
1. The carrier pigeon. I love the idea of a bird with a little satchel strapped across its chest transporting a message across the land. It just seems so archaic and provincial. So last century.
2. The telegraph. In its day, it revolutionized communication, displacing the Pony Express STOP Inexpensive long-distance calling and email made telegraph technology obsolete STOP I never received a telegram but love the romantic notion of it that I saw in old movies STOP Come to find out you can no longer send a telegraph is the U.S., so I’ve missed my chance unless I want one sung at me by a gorilla with balloons STOP
3. The Telex. The teleprinter exchange was the first mode of texting. It worked as long as you could read a long, narrow printout with a series of holes. I remember seeing it at The World newspaper offices when we toured with my Brownies troop. Now it’s just fun to say, “I’m going to send a Telex.” According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Telex is still used by merchant ships and financial institutions. Makes me put a lot of faith in the modernity of our financial institutions.
4. The fax machine. You run your document through but are never really sure it makes it to its destination. It’s just out there, in the ether. It was a major advancement into the world of immediacy, but I have a strong recollection of standing at the fax machine, before the advent of the broadcast fax, in the Capitol when I worked for the Colorado Senate, faxing and refaxing the same press release to all the media outlets, swearing at the machine to go faster.
I stopped and realized that not so very long before, the releases would have been mimeographed and sent out through the mail. I had to tell myself to chill out.
5. The U.S. mail. I hate to sound the death toll for the ol’ USPS, but let’s be honest – very few of us communicate through the mail anymore. When one gets a handwritten letter, however, it’s actually a bit of a thrill. Growing up, we knew what time the mailman came, and we would run down to check our mailbox on the lane below our house. Good things came in the mail: letters from pen pals, new issues of Tiger Beat magazine, albums ordered from the Columbia Record Club. Now I have a post office box that I remember to go to about once a week, and most of the contents go straight into the recycling bin.
6. The telephone. To go in my lifetime from a fixed-to-the-wall, rotary-dial phone with a party line to a cordless land line that never gets used and is about to be canceled is the most miraculous of technological advances.
My, how times have changed. SEND
Linda Stamper Boyne, of Edwards, can be contacted through editor@vail