Cars, Television, Telephones, Facebook: Community vs Isolation

I was thinking this morning about how the world has changed just in my life time. When I was a child more people didn't own a car than people that did. Almost everybody walked where ever they had to go. Even if they rode in a car it was usually with some other family who had one and you had to walk a long way to meet them for the ride. Going to town was a monthly thing, not daily like it is now. As you walked the two or three miles since there was no air conditioning, everybody would sit on the front porch to keep cool so you actually spoke to and talked with your neighbors. You knew them all by name and cared about them. Now, everybody owns a car and maybe two. We enclose ourselves in our car and run to town or the store nearly ever day. Nobody is on the front porch because most houses don't have one, everybody has air conditioning and nobody sits out even if they have a porch. The result is that we don't even know the names and faces of the people that live withing a mile of us! I could name every household and every person that lived on Big Branch and Hurricane where I grew up. Now, I don't know my neighbors! I know the name of the person who lives in the one house I can see and that is it. There is probably a hundred houses within a mile of me and I know non of the people that live in them. Physical isolation!

Next came the telephone: I was at least 12 before I ever saw a phone. Even then it was a party line and 6 people on it. It was at my brother Vance's house. If you wanted to talk to your family or a neighbor before the phone came along you went in person and visited. You discussed issues face to face over coffee or maybe ice tea. You didn't call up people for foolishness when you were on a party line, everybody listened in on you. The phone was for emergencies and such. Even after the party lines went out and each person could have a phone, most people did not have one for a long time. Then came the car phone, big, in a box weighing a ton, and poor signal. More a burden than a convenience. Now look at us! Everybody with a phone to their ear and not talking face to face with anybody! More physical isolation!

Then along came the spider: The internet/Facebook. It's tentacles go all over the world and we are caught in the WEB! Extreme physical isolation has occurred yet we have more exposure to the world and other people than ever in history. We don't even speak to our families and friends much anymore, we TEXT them! We can't sit down for a meal at a restaurant without looking at our phone and texting or reading or something else. The real person across from us is ignored. Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of the world at my fingertips and the ability to see pictures and know about all my friends and family instantly. But, people need human, physical contact for their emotional growth and well being. We need to see the expressions when words are spoken, we need to feel that pat on the back or a good hug instead of seeing an emoji! I love my alone time but some days I crave to just hear a friend or one of the family knock on my door! Does anybody else miss those times when you spoke face to face and cared enough about each other to actually go visit??


Glenna Combs