Saturday 14 June 2014

I Liked Being Alone

I can remember holding one of those big, black telephone receivers to my ear and talking to my grandmother when I was very little. We never talked too long, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I had little upper body strength and just couldn’t hold the phone for longer than a minute or two.
I would watch the WWII movies and the soldiers would have to call back to their base at some point to ask where the shelling was or why they didn’t stop the shelling. There was one guy in the platoon that carried the radio in a backpack and he was called “Sparky” usually. I assumed that someone else carried all of his stuff while “Sparky” had a radio in a backpack. I don’t think I understood that the backpack was the radio, because radios were much smaller than that in my world. My buddy and I would play army and even though we didn’t have a backpack radio, we would make do with two tin cans and some string. I remember it working, but that could just have been wishful thinking. We did have fun though.
Later on, I would talk to my buddy through my bedroom window. Mike’s bedroom was right across the breezeway from mine and we could make plans without phoning or getting together. The plans were usually to get together, so we didn’t really save any time, but it was cool that we could open the window and talk.

When I was a teenager, we would make plans either earlier in the day or over the telephone. There was always someone that you didn’t get in touch with, or the plans would change while you were en route without your knowledge. That would lead to a night of wandering the streets trying to find your buddies. Sometimes you would run across someone else that had been left out of the loop and you would spend the night wandering and talking, and more than likely getting into some kind of trouble. Those were often the best nights and you would find yourself much closer to your travelling companion.
Sometimes, while I was out wandering, I would find a pay phone and call around to see if I could find my buddies. I would call the numbers from memory of course. There were only a few places that everyone could be because it was either Noelle’s place or someone whose parents were gone for the weekend. Noelle was the only one living on her own, but she got tired of everyone dropping over all the time.

Every now and then, you wouldn’t find anyone and you would end up at home. Your parents would think “Isn’t it nice that Kenny wants to spend the night with us!” You could watch TV or play cards. We had a pool table so dad and I would play a few games. Dad was really good, but he always kept the games pretty close. Those were nice nights.

I don’t know when we discovered that it is necessary to be constantly connected to the world. Cell phones have taken away our option to be alone. We are attached to the internet and some of us can’t go five minutes without checking to see if someone wants to connect. I don’t know any phone numbers anymore, I don’t have to, the phone knows. The phone knows everything! It knows when I have a doctors appointment, who has a birthday coming up and I can find out what my friends are doing almost any time day or night. I am almost never alone.

I liked being alone…

No comments:

Post a Comment