The Car Guy took a consulting job this past January. It was supposed to take only a few months of full time work, but that was not to be. Seven months in, and there is no end in sight. He is more than ready to retire again. It isn’t that he doesn’t like the project, or the challenge. What is really getting him down is how hard it is to get away from the job after work hours now that he has a company issued Blackberry phone.
Communications have changed considerably since he embarked on his career in the 1970’s. When he first started working, he spent much of his time in remote locations. At that time, reports were hand printed on a form, then voice relayed to the head office by mobile radio. Land lines came later, and with them came the addition of a fax machine which enabled information to be sent back and forth much faster.
The phones in use at that time had rotary dials, but by the 1980’s most businesses and homes had moved up to the push button phone. (The one in this photo lives here at the Red House, and has been in service for about 40 years.)
With the advent of Computers, then the Internet and Cell Phones, communication speed increased. Messaging became instant and some would say more and more invasive. The demarcation line between home and office blurred, then disappeared.
When The Car Guy retired, this line had not yet been crossed. But today, he is subjected to the never ending nagging presence of mail on his Blackberry. The expectations of his co-workers, and the job, never end. Not only that, but everyday communication with family and friends is reaching the same level of immediacy. One of my children has suggested that I buy a smart phone, and learn how to text message. “Just think,” she said, “You would be able to get text messages from us even while you are at the cabin!” (We don’t have a phone there, nor voice cell phone coverage unless we walk about 1/2 a mile and sit by the dumpsters…)
But I kind of like the idea that the cabin is part of a time warp zone of silence. It takes me back to the days when The Car Guy would phone me after 2 weeks of silence to say, “I’m coming home tomorrow. Pick me up at the airport, okay?” The days where we lived for weeks at a time by Marriage Rule #1 – No News is Good News!