Necessary? Needed?

In July I threatened that this post would come, but the actual writing has been postponed until now. I was prompted to return to my musings of almost two months ago by a YouTube video which was posted by a fb friend and on a blog that I follow via  Twitter. I generally don’t watch video links on fb or blogs, but because of the completely different people who’d posted it I did watch this one. The video is all about how smartphones are ubiquitous and may prevent interaction with people who are actually physically present with you. But we all know that from experience. Also smartphones and posting pictures/videos from those phones are what makes something “real” for some people.

Two things happened in June that made me think how quickly things can change and how often we don’t notice how much we’ve adapted to new situations. One thing happened in a local diner and the other at the local grocery store.

Diner happening: I was eating breakfast at a local diner on my day off. It was not very busy and across the room was a table of four people who were really the only ones talking in the place. I eavesdropped. The four, all of whom I thought older than me, were bemoaning the cost of having a cell phone with them in Europe. One woman announced that she coped by using her smartphone’s wireless connection vs its G3 connection whenever possible. “You can get free wireless lots of places,” she said, “so I use that instead of using the roaming thing.” This prompted a discussion of whether just getting a throw-away phone in Europe once one arrived was actually the best thing to do. Then, of course, all your settings would not be saved and it would just be a basic phone — but then you could use your smartphone for the wireless connections and the throw-away phone for calls and texts as needed. I was amazed. I could remember getting my first cell phone and I’m sure these people all remembered life before cell phones, yet now they  talked as though travelling without one was just unreasonable. They had all kinds of work-arounds for the high cost of carrying a phone with them wherever they went — when the ability to do this has only become a reality in the past 20 years. Odd how we thing that something like a cell phone is necessary to life when it is just not.

Grocery Store happening: I was browsing the produce at the grocery store and was slightly shocked and horrified to see some pomegranates in store in June. Then I stopped myself and thought more carefully about the availability of berries year-round. I’m usually shocked if I cannot find strawberries in the grocery store every week of the year. I can remember when strawberries were not available 52 weeks a year, but only in the spring and summer. I ate seasonally because I had to — there was no choice about the matter. Now eating seasonly appropriate food is an ethical decision some people make. If you don’t have contact with farms, you may not even know what food is seasonal. Interesting.

People adapt. The world changes and we change right along with it, and hardly notice when things have changed beyond recognition. New things become necessary. Conveniences are taken for granted. And I’m posting this from a laptop not currently wired to anything. It is an annoyance when I have to go plug in to a wall. How weird is that?

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