Life before cell phones was better

caller id to see who's calling you in the 80s

Life before cell phones was better for many reasons.

A little something for the millennial and younger. Do you remember what it was like before cell phones? Probably not. Can you imagine life without your cell phone or tablet or internet? I’m sure you can’t.

It was 1995 and no one had cell phones unless they had money. These were called car phones, which were cell phones, and permanently mounted in the car. People with money also had bag phones, a bulky cell phone bag the size of a laptop case that carried the battery and transmitter for said phone. Then there were pagers with answering machines and caller id.

What’s caller id? Man, you are young, and you really missed out on a lot of cool things in life. The 1980s. For one, when bands toured, they toured the WORLD FOR MONTHS! None of this little 40 city tour stuff and making albums out of their home on a Macbook for submitting on iTunes. Don’t get me wrong, that’s cool and I have done it too. Bands LIVED on the road, wrote their next album on the road and even recorded on the road. Bands would be away from home for 1 to 2 years promoting their albums.

I digress. Let’s get back to life before cell phones. Everyone had a house phone back then, called a land line. Some people still have house phones but never use them. Not sure why you’re still spending that money on something you never use.

You never knew who was calling until you got caller id. The phone company charged $1.99 a month for caller id. This little box connected between your phone line in the wall and your phone. Phone calls came in, the caller id box registered the data, and let you know the caller’s phone number and name. This was cutting edge technology. This device crippled crank phone calls.

caller id
caller id to see who’s calling you in the 80s

You must know what crank phone calls are? Jerk kids would pick a number at random, or one they knew, call it, and do silly things or try to scare the person on the other end. There was no way of telling who it was. Sure, you could dial #69 to call that person back, which did no help really, since there was no way of knowing who it was or what number they called from. There was also #67, which allowed you to dial the last number you called without dialing the numbers again.

Ah, being an 80s kid. WE LOVED IT! You might be shocked to think, “how did you live without the internet or ipads or cell phones or candy crush?!” It was easy. Things were more fun and real back then. Concerts, live bands, outside playing baseball, going to the movies, the list was never-ending. Atari 2600 was huge for everyone. Ah, the better days.

Life before cell phones was better in many ways. If you wanted to talk to someone, you went to their house and knocked on their door. Conversation turned into playing outside with your friends and planning a sleep over. If you were an adult, conversation turned into a BBQ and / or long front porch conversations into the night.

Everyone says their generation was the best but I believe it’s true for the kids of the 1980s. We were there for the birth and rise of video games. Saturday morning cartoons with some of the best movies ever created to spark imagination and wonder. There was no internet feeding your brain mush. You were outside with your friends in all sorts of weather with no regard for time. You had to be home when the street lights came on or else.

There was no such thing as everyone is a winner. You played sports or video games and you either won or lost. Kids weren’t pampered like they are today. Comedy was much better and less politically correct. Everyone today is afraid of getting their feelings hurt.

The internet does have its pros. Looking up information is so much faster than it used to be. One would have to ride their bike or drive a car to the library to research information. If your furnace was broken this could take hours of research and then hoping the local hardware store had the parts you needed. Now it’s a quick search on the internet with an order placed on Amazon right away. I won’t lie, that part of the internet I love, although I do miss the old days.

I’m not saying all the internet is bad. If it wasn’t for the internet, I wouldn’t be able to bring you these blog posts. There are definitely pros, but also many cons once the digital age started.

iTunes is great but I do miss the good old days of driving around to pick up friends for a visit to the record store. We would spend hours looking at the latest releases, deciding which albums to buy. Now it can be done from anywhere with a single tap on your iPhone. Sure, that’s convenient, but it takes a lot of the fun out of it…the gathering of friends, the making of memories.

The internet and cell phones are great, there is no denying. If people spent more time living life instead of being glued to their electronic devices, life would be better.

Life before cell phones also had its disadvantages as well. Each house had one phone number with a few phones in the house. If you were on the phone and your parents were expecting a call or they needed the phone, you had to be off it.

Early house phones were tied to the wall with a cord, as cordless phones weren’t available yet.

If you were out and about, going to stores, no one could get ahold of you and you couldn’t get ahold of anyone either. If you’re shopping for someone and you can’t remember what size they wear, the answer is now just a text away. Before cell phones, you had to wait until you got home to make the phone call.

Life before cell phones had its advantages and disadvantages. I remember going to stores with my parents as a kid. An hour or so after we got home, the phone would ring. One of the first few sentences my mother said was, yes, we were out at stores today, we weren’t home.

Before cell phones, you had to wait for the person to be home before you could talk to them. I think this was better in a lot of ways. There was no text frustration if someone doesn’t text you back within 2 minutes!

Technology today is awesome but it also puts too much stress on people with social media pressures and obligations. Although I’ve been in the tech industry for years, I rarely have my iPhone around me. I simply don’t have any interest to see who is eating what or who has bought what, on social media. I don’t care what political opinions people have or who is fighting about what.

I prefer a simpler time, the time before cell phones or mass technology.

I still haven’t played candy crush and never will. When I get home, my cell phone is on the counter. I’m not into social media much. It just doesn’t interest me.

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Steve

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