For example, there were no Trunk or Treat or Fall Festival celebrations at churches for Halloween, because it was safe to Trick-or-Treat. You knew your neighbors, and people didn’t worry about them doing anything freaky or stupid. That’s not the case anymore. We lived in a neighborhood before we built our home, and I’d say we only talked to maybe 4 or 5 neighbors them on occasion. We saw every kid in the neighborhood and other neighborhoods near ours on Halloween, but otherwise we were strangers passing on the streets as we went about our business.
That seems to be the way of it. There was no threat of terrorism here in the United States. Random shootings – of schools, police officers, or anybody – were unheard of. Political campaigns didn’t last a year and a half, and there weren’t stores, strip malls, and restaurants every 25 feet. In fact, you could drive for 10 miles or more on some of the highways here without seeing anything other than trees 30 years ago. Now, it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. It’s like I read in a book I reviewed recently when a character asked “why is there so much ugly?” and another character answered “there are more people; hense, there’s more crazy.” True!
And yet, it’s not all loss. I can’t imagine writing meeting minutes (much less a novel) on a typewriter, and ebooks have made the traditional publishing industry so archaic as to be nearly obsolete. I can’t imagine how we lived without cell phones, non-drowsy antihistamines, antacids, or GPS (because I still can’t read a map). Advances in medicine and communication have made it so much easier to live, work, and play, and have put us in communication with people that we wouldn’t meet otherwise. I’ll bet I’d have never met many of you reading this blog entry in person if not for the Internet, and would have lost tough with others from different places that I met when traveling for work. I certainly wouldn’t have discovered many of the outstanding books I’ve read and authors I’ve communicated with if not for the ebook revolution. I certainly don’t miss file cabinets. I found a lot more files got lost when we hung on to paper than have since we started digitizing everything. In fact, I greatly entertained one of our newer employees with the story of how my office had a dot matrix printer with an electric typewriter as backup with I first started this job in 1999. And let’s be honest: Christmas shopping is 100% easier with Amazon. That place is a working person’s dream come true!
I was putting in my contacts this morning when I had the random memory of how my grandmother didn’t want me to get contact lenses. The truth is, she didn’t want me to grow up. Heck, she might have been on to something, because being responsible for yourself is exhausting! But adulthood is unavoidable, and the truth is that I’ve had the advantage of growing up during an interesting time of progress and change.
On a different note; good luck to those of you participating in National Novel Writing Month. I finished writing Trigger last weekend (yay!), so I did my novel writing month early – and there’s a testament that it can be done, despite a home, family, and full time job. Just dig in there, prioritize, exercise self control, and go.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.