Thursday, June 4, 2009

the electronic connections

so today . . . i realized how much i depend on my electronics.

i know i have blogged about how much i love my electronics and can't live without them, but today i realized that it is about more than just my entertainment--it is what is keeping me connected with people. without my smartphone, my laptop, and an internet connection, i would be a man without a country . . . well, maybe a woman without a country . . . let's just say solitary . . .

my phone plan has unlimited everything for only one "small" fee. i guess it is small compared to my car payment or my grocery bill, but it is still a chunk of change. i think our very first cell phone plan was for 60 minutes of talk time a month--can you imagine?!? we guarded those minutes like gold! and we had ways of circumventing the actual use of the cell phone ("i'll call your cell phone, and when you see my number on the caller id, don't answer it. just go call me from the nearest regular phone at work.") if we left diandra at home alone, we would tell her, "don't call us unless the house is on fire or you are bleeding and a bandaid won't fix it." when text messaging came on the scene, we didn't see the need for it, and so we only had 100 text messages per month on our plan. but once we started communicating by text, we very quickly realized that 100 was not going to be adequate. and don't even get me started on the joy of being able to access the internet from my phone anytime, anywhere. yes, we now have the "talk all you want, text all you want, surf the net all you want" plan. and it is a good thing.

yesterday i texted diandra because i needed someone to come harvest the crops my kindergarten boys had planted. their crops have to be dealt with in a timely manner if i want them to be able to be involved, because it all has to happen during the school day. so when it was time to harvest, and none of my farmer friends were online, i texted diandra. she got on her computer, harvested for us, and then went back to whatever she had been doing. was i going to call someone and ask them to do that? no, that would just be ridiculous! but there is something casual about a text message . . . it didn't seem ridiculous at all to text her.

this afternoon i was at costco, and i got a text from a friend of mine who had seen me driving there. she just wanted to know if that was where i was headed. (we have a brand new costco near us--thus, the excitement!) i texted back, "yes." and then we proceeded to text each other back and forth for the next 45 minutes or so. we could have called--we both had our cell phones. and had we called, the conversation probably would have only taken 10 minutes. but text messages are much less intrusive. i could shop at costco, and read her message any time after it came in, and respond while i was just wandering the aisles.

pictures add another whole level to the communication. i rarely go shopping without diandra, but when i do, picture mail is a necessary part of it. i send her a photo and say, "what do you think?" and quite frequently i will get a picture from her while she is at the mall, asking my opinion of a coat or shoes or top she is looking at. we can help each other shop without even being at the mall together!

the other day i was sending a text and mentioned to rollie that i needed an angry face smiley for my message, but my phone didn't have one. after he and diandra got done laughing about the incongruity of that, he sent me this picture:
and now, when i am texting and need an angry smiley, i just insert his picture. (and since that is such a scary picture of a really nice guy, i'm also posting this picture for balance--but since i don't know how to crop pics yet, it is of all of us.)i've blogged about how facebook has allowed me to reconnect with old friends who live far away. but it isn't just about sending email--we can message each other in real time and have conversations.

tonight when i settled down with my computer to farm, it wouldn't load onto my computer. i tried several times, but kept getting an error message. oh no, i thought, what was i going to do with my evening? working on my farm was my plan for tonight. so i watched, and as soon as i saw my mom come online, i messaged her and found out she couldn't get on either. then wendy popped up, and i asked her too and got the same response--no farm town for anyone. so we just talked to each other on the computer for a while. but soon wendy messaged me, "i'm on farm town." my heart leaped--i messaged my mom, "wendy is on farm town. i'm going to give it a try." my mom messaged me, "i'm on my way too," or something like that. and soon we were all happily plowing, planting, harvesting, and plotting about what we were going to do on our farms. because you see, farm town isn't just about the farm. if it was, we would probably tire of it fairly quickly. it is about the people and the communication with them that happens while we farm. that is what keeps us going back night after night. it isn't really about the white farmhouse, it's about meeting our friends every night and catching up on what's been going on in our real lives.

i get to talk to my mom and wendy and sherry and albert almost every night, and that wouldn't happen without farm town. rollie and diandra are never further than a text message away--they cannot always answer their phones when i call, but they can almost always read a text. my facebook interactions sometimes move people i only know superficially into the friend column. my life is enriched because of my electronic connections with people.

but, if anyone ever hits los angeles with one of those smart bombs that doesn't destroy anything except the electrical systems, i am toast.


Scuotto Graphics Plus Blog said...

That was so funny that you had brought up Costcos. You see, yesterday I to went over to Costcos for a couple of items we needed. I wasn't planning on going over there, so Dawn didn't know I had went there. The really funny part is, where Dawn works, her team had earned a pizza party for lunch time a few days ago. Yesterday was the day they were going to have it. Sometimes they will get the pizza from Pronto Pizza or Pizza Hut. This time they had Costco pizza. We didn't realize about the Costco connection until I picked her up after work. We had a little laugh about it.

Julie, sometimes my mom will mention, how did we ever live before phones and phone headsets or e-mail. You see, we talk alot and both of us will have our headsets plugged in and the phone clipped to the side of us. Hands free. Usually the only thing that will stop us is those darn phone batteries. One Sunday, when I didn't have to do the night service, we had talked on the phone for six hours straight. The only thing that stopped us then was that we had went through all of our charged phone extentions. Since then we have come close to the six hours serveral times, but haven't been able to beat it yet.

mom said...

All well said. The extra communicaton through farm town makes it seem like you aren't so far away. One of the reasons (in the old days) people got along without all the electronics is that families and friends mostly lived in the same town or area and many were within walking or bike distance of each other. Sometimes only shouting distance. It's really only been in last 40-45 years that people have become scattered from those we know and love. Hard to imagine what electronics will be in another 40 years. In the meantime, we greatly enjoy what we have.

Wendy said...

The picture of Rollie is priceless! Your mom is so right about being scattered! Jeff is still very old fashioned and will NEVER own a cell phone or understand my need for electronics. But I read him your blog so he can see someone is more hooked than me!

Jewelielyn said...

JEFF DOESN'T HAVE A CELL PHONE?!?!? how does he survive? how do YOU survive? oh wait, i get it . . . i was just thinking, "if i couldn't reach rollie whenever i needed to . . . " but maybe that is jeff's evil plan. no wonder he is so calm :)