was reading something I wrote the other day. Basic plot went like
Justin and I had been planning a trip to Pennsylvania. Jay was
heading off on a summer trip with a friend of his, so we had decided
to grab Justin and go to Hersheypark.
a wide variety of reasons that aren’t part of this story, my sister
(Kerri) and her husband (Nick) were on a journey driving around
the United States that summer. They were very roughly planning
on bringing their trip to an end around the days we would be in
Pennsylvania. Roughly meaning their schedule would have them crossing
the state while we were there. Plans were made to meet up in Hershey.
a bit of a twist to the story. This took place about twenty-five
years ago. No GPS. No cell phones. No navigational apps. No where-are-you
text messages. Just hotel reservations made, meet up on this date,
hopefully everyone is around in time to join up for dinner.
is absolutely no way anything like this could take place today.
No way. Impossible. Even with minimal phone contact, there would
at least have to be a call or a text as the day started where
the two parties checked in for rough estimates.
none of that was really possible around 1996 or so. Back then,
other than the phone in your house, you had the option of a payphone.
That was about it for what was in regular use. Once you left the
driveway, the world was a crazy and wide-open space.
all of this got me thinking about so many things that will never
my grandparents drop by on a summer day unannounced… leaving a
bag of tomatoes and cucumbers from their garden behind… if they
had the ability to quickly check in and know we wouldn’t be home?
Probably. But I don’t know for certain. And communication is just
one of the ways things are changing.
work world isn’t the same these days. For a work week, it used
to be Monday to Friday, from 9 to 5. For many, it may still be
close. But far more people these days are on a schedule that says
you can work whenever. Grocery stores are open around the clock.
Restaurant kitchens are still sending out meals after midnight.
And, you can buy alcohol on Sundays.
can still recall hearing about holiday shopping for some of the
first times. Think about stores open on Thanksgiving and Christmas
mornings… for the last second purchases of vegetables that you
forgot when you did the massive shopping for the holiday meal
(or the batteries you need for the kids’ toys). A store open for
a few hours because I needed turnip or butter? Well, that was
just genius. But when I was growing up, you might have a hard
time getting a cup of coffee to go on Thanksgiving, so these open
stores were quite revolutionary. (Not quite as shocking today.)
course, the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that
my mother makes sense even when she sounds crazy. We’ll be talking
about ordering dinner, and she’ll mention that it’s Monday so
the restaurant is likely closed. And I chuckle and laugh and look
at her like she’s nuts. After all, what type of place is closed
on a Monday? But, it’s only crazy until no one answers the phone
for our order… you know… because it’s Monday, and they’re closed.
Old habits are, at times, hard to break.
say the one constant is change. It’s inevitable. And, there is
a lot of truth in the idea. I don’t believe I will ever again
descend on a location hundreds of miles away with plans to meet
someone with no contact at all the day of arrival other than seeing
them show up.
the more things change…
I still can’t always place the take out order I want on a Monday