There is a code for everything today. Every item in the shop, every village in the world. There’s a code for every telephone. Bar codes float through the air like fireflies. We are all zipped up. Where once we needed our name, today we need a passport, email address, social security number, and zip code.
But, life on earth existed before codes. Before zip codes, cable television, and calling codes. Before bar codes were printed on every product. We used dial telephones which worked better — at least as telephones — than the phones we use now. In small towns, you only needed the last four numbers to place a call.
We mailed letters and remarkably, they got delivered. Television was not as interesting, but we did read books for entertainment. And we enjoyed it, or at least some of us did.
We had conversations with each other. That’s right! Imagine it, for a moment, groups of people getting together and talking about all kinds of stuff. History, books, and the state of the world. No one became enraged and charged from the room with blood in his or her eye.
Oh, did I mention that most of us were polite? Said things like “excuse me” and “thank you” and “please” … and no one felt diminished by this. It made many of the small things in life a little easier to deal with. Not that the world was perfect.
Much was broken and is still waiting to get fixed, but as a whole, we were nicer to each other. Personally, at least. We weren’t nice because we were whiter or browner or some shade in between. We were nice because we were taught to be like that. By our parents. Because civilized people were taught to be polite to adults and each other. It was the grease on the squeaky wheel of civilization.
As I watch kids today sitting together in groups busily texting each other, I have to wonder how they will develop human relationships with any depth. If they don’t know how to have a conversation, how are they going to build a life? Maybe the passion for tiny electronics will fade with time. Then, folks will remember how talking and laughing used to take up that space in the world.
You never know. It could happen!