A friend of mine and I were talking the other day about how we can’t do without our cell phones. I mentioned that before I moved to Thomaston, when I was living in Locust Grove and working in Thomaston, that the trip was about 45 minutes to an hour long one way, depending on traffic. On various days when I might have been running late, I’d forgotten my watch, my glasses, my wallet, and one time, my teeth. And despite remembering about halfway through the trip what I had forgotten, I never turned around to go back home and get the forgotten item. I could live without my watch – my cell phone has a clock in it. I could live without my glasses – I keep a spare pair at work. I could live without my wallet – I’d borrow some money from a co-worker for lunch and hope I didn’t get in an accident or pulled over by the police. I could even live without my teeth – as long as I didn’t smile too much or have to eat something hard for lunch. But, if I left home without my cell phone – which I did several times – it didn’t matter how far into the trip I was, I always turned around and went back to get it!
And that still amazes me, because I never owned or used a cell phone before I went to work for Henry County in 2001 and they gave me one. How did I survive in those “dark” days when I would be out running around and not be able to call or text someone at a moment’s notice? How did anyone reach me if they needed me? I remember one time, pre-cell phones, I was covering the Henry County Board of Education meeting and there was an inmate riot at the county jail. The Sheriff at the time called my house looking for me to let me know what was going on, and my wife had to drive over to the Board office and get me out of the meeting.
However did we survive without cell phones, or the Internet, or airplanes, or cable TV, or color TV, for that matter, or air conditioning in our homes and cars, or indoor plumbing, or any number of little luxuries we all now take for granted?
I’m reading a novel by Clive Cussler about a detective back in the early 1900’s. The majority of his detecting involves someone trying to sabotage a railroad company building tracks across the United States. At various times, he has had to travel from Utah and California back to New York and Boston, and the book talks about the three or four days it takes him to travel by train between his destinations. To fly from New York to Los Angeles today takes about six and a half hours. Imagine it taking three or four days by train!
He also talks about communicating between the cities by telegraph, and how easy it is to cripple that form of communication simply by cutting a couple of wires on a pole. Imagine what that would be like today, if all our forms of communication were cut?
I read a book a few years ago, whose name and author I don’t remember, but the idea was that a gigantic sunspot had hit the earth and had wiped out everything electronic – cell phones, computers, cars, houses, airplanes, power plants, water plants, etc. The subject of the book was how people today dealt with being thrust back into the days before we had all of these modern appliances to serve us. It was an interesting book, and makes me wonder, would we survive if we had to give up everything we had? What would happen if we went back…