A landline telephone. Paper calendars. Print versions of books and newspapers.

These are items I refuse to part with, even under pressure – sometimes subtle, sometimes intense – to embrace their technological replacements. Holding on to them often feels like a losing battle, but it’s one I’ll keep fighting nonetheless. It’s a battle that’s come to the forefront, in different ways and with different results, during my recent move to Georgia.

Wherever we’ve lived, I’ve always subscribed to a daily newspaper – the Chicago Tribune, the Roanoke Times, the Denver Post, and the Minneapolis StarTribune. My plan was to subscribe to the Atlanta Journal Constitution as soon as we got settled in. The problem, I quickly found out, is that there is no newspaper delivery in the rural area in which we now live. I can get an online subscription, but not a home delivery one.

Landline vs. cell phone has been an ongoing discussion in our house for years. I know that pretty much everyone has a cell phone today, and landlines are on the endangered species list. My husband points out regularly that a landline is an extra and unnecessary expense. Still, it’s important to me to have that solid connection, a family and home phone number and a phone that can’t get lost or stolen and doesn’t need to be recharged every night.

A paper calendar, even with squares that are never big enough, allows me to more quickly and easily record and remember events and appointments, and also to see more clearly when and where my schedule is overloaded or unbalanced. It was kind of a shock, in fact, when I flipped over a dog-eared and totally-filled-in calendar page to one that was crisp, clean and empty. This was the result of saying goodbye to the many activities and organizations I was involved in at our old home, and not yet establishing any in our new one. That will change soon, I know, but I’ll work hard at not getting overcommitted and overextended.

Although Kindles and other e-readers are definitely more lightweight and convenient for travel, they will never give me the pleasure or satisfaction of selecting from a stack of books and settling in to read. They can’t give me the visual of a bookmark sticking out of the pages, charting my progress and letting me know how much of the book is still ahead of me.

The spotty cell phone coverage in our area has vindicated my insistence on a landline, and my newspaper dilemma was resolved by signing up for mail delivery of the daily paper. There will be a two-day delay, but that’s not an issue for recipes and articles I want to cut out and save, or the Sudoku puzzles I’ve become addicted to, and like to work on while I’m traveling or watching TV.

Change is necessary, and I wouldn’t want to be without the connections and convenience of my cell phone, Nook, or other technological advances that make life easier in many ways. But I never want to say goodbye to their earlier versions, or the comfort and pleasure I get from these old and dear friends.

March 31, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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