Late Monday evening, I received a phone call I had been dreading. After I collected my thoughts, I went on-line, booked an airline ticket and made a rental car reservation. Yesterday, I set off for the airport. I plugged the airport address into my Garmin because, well, you know. I turned on my XM Satellite Radio and took several cell phone calls during my two hour journey to the airport.
When I got to the airport, I punched a button which triggered some mechanism to spit out my long-term parking ticket. When I got to the terminal, I swiped my credit card in the airline's automated check-in kiosk. I then selected my seat and out popped my boarding pass. During the flight, I listened to XM Satellite Radio while working on my laptop. When I arrived at my destination, I picked up my bag, went to the rental car desk and again used a kiosk to check in. I was even able to select which car I wanted once I got to the lot.
Conveniences. Life is full of conveniences. Everything is automatic, quick and easy. And we like it that way. Now. Faster. Bigger. Better. More....
When I arrived at the hospital, there lay my grandmother. My last living grandparent. Her lungs filled with fluid and mucus. Struggling for every breath. Tired. Frail. Weak. But still fighting.
As I watched her struggle to hang on, I remembered the stories she had shared with me throughout the years. How her family found hope during the Great Depression. How her small hometown honored those they lost in World War II. How a nation rallied around their troops and glorified military service.
As I type, I'm watching my grandmother gasp for air, even with the aid of oxygen. I wonder how many more breaths she will take. I can't help but contrast the differences in our generations. The things she experienced that I will never know about. The things I can do that she can't possibly understand. I'm thinking about the ease in which I arrived here, thanks to all of the gadgets and devices that allow us to run on autopilot much of the time. And I'm trying to imagine what V-E day and V-J day must have looked and sounded and felt like. And I'm wondering what it was like to be born in one town, remain in one town and be surrounded by family all of your life. I'm wondering what it was like to write letters instead of emails. To get together for Friday evening dances at the hall instead of meeting in chat rooms.
I love technology, I do. But right now I can't help but wonder, for all of our technological advances and modern-day conveniences, was life somehow richer way back then?