A Longing for the Lost Landline

In the landline world there was down time. You left the house, you looked around, you saw people, you daydreamed, you got lost, you found your way again, you gazed from the train window at lines of poplars swaying in the mist. Time drifted. It was not raw material for the extraction of productivity. It stretched away, an empty canvas.

Experience occurred, not as a thing to be rated with stars, nor as the prelude to a request for feedback. Sidewalks were not an obstacle course around people absorbed by smartphones. Posture was better. Heads were not bowed in contemplation of thumbs. The end of landlines has been bad for necks. It has been bad for the bonds that form the commons.

People knew where they were in relation to other places on a map. They had their bearings. They were not blue-dot zombies in motion on a navigation system. They could remember landline phone numbers. Kids did not have play dates, they had neighborhoods. In those neighborhoods they played with neighbors’ children. They were not tracked minute by minute.

Quoted from: A longing for the lost landline, Roger Cohen, NYT.