Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Life, Writing

Day 216

I actually slept, so, even though I got up at 5:45 so I could give A a life down to her early shift, I felt quite well-rested. I even went to bed at the time M and I usually go to bed when she’s here and not on hols. I was going to write this then, but Greek, work, Wordle, Scholardle, Absurdle, unhappy stomach, and whatever else distracted me (even when I got back from giving A a lift at 7:15). And now I’m here, and the day has half gone, and I’m going to pick M up from the station later, as apparently, after leaving here with just a small backpack, she’s coming back with said backpack and a suitcase of books (given to her by the girls, no doubt).

One weird thing I was pondering over yesterday evening is how the ways of us communicating when one or the other of us is away has changed over the years. I haven’t actually spoken with M since she left on Monday morning – we’ve just been messaging each other. In the early days, of course, there was no messaging, no mobile phones even, never mind smartphones. I remember the first Christmas after we’d met, and M was down in Kent, and I was at my parents’ house, and I sat on the floor in one of the empty bedrooms that had been one of my sisters’ and spent well over an hour on the house phone talking to M who’d declined my invitation to come to my parents with me. Oh, the thrill of it. I do remember being nervous. But then it’s this progress towards smartphones and not talking face-to-face or ear-to ear that’s robbed so many people of the ability to actually be socially literate. I did think last night about phoning M, but didn’t want to disrupt any quality time she was having with the girls.

Anyhow, I know I’m in danger of sounding like a grumpy old man, but there are many good things to miss about the relatively technology-free days of the late Eighties, things we have lost to the detriment of our quality of life. There are many advantages to the internet (I wouldn’t be able to do my day job as effectively without it, wouldn’t be able to write this, wouldn’t be able to have my Zoom call with Colonel L later, wouldn’t be able to stay in touch with children as regularly, nor self-publish books, etc etc), but the disadvantages are plain: misinformation, spreading of untruths, propaganda, the ability (and invitation almost) to vent without actually stopping and thinking about problems first and trying to solve them, identity theft, cyber warfare, online bullying, echo chambers, etc etc. There were days when the internet was confined to one corner of one room of the house for a maximum hour a day. And, despite everything I say, I’m not really a Luddite. I just think we’ve forgotten how to be people.




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