I was having an online parley with my Grandson Zachary, (Zack-Attack) who is stationed in the Philippines. Working with his Seabee Unit, he is employed in the construction of several building projects.
Highlighting a number of pictures – including that of a block job, complete with a fresh parge coat of stucco, we took off and jumped into our fast-as-light digital conversation.
The Filipino’s do things quite differently than we would here in the U.S. They seem to have a far simpler way of accomplishing a project, as was clearly noted by way of pictures in the project which Zack was participating.
The weather, as he reminded me, was a definite factor in How they built and Why they built so simply with the raw materials that are readily available.
The ‘Big Bad Wolf blowing down your and my House’ may be largely a ‘fairy tale’ in our cities and hometowns, but it is not a child’s story in the Philippines. Storms can be both violent and frequent enough. And … Rebuilding Projects are a constant and necessary by-product.
As he and I bounced our thoughts back and forth to and ‘at’ one another, I could not help but reflect about ‘my time’ in the Navy and one or two things that are very different now.
The foremost of my musings had to do with the ‘lighting speed’ of our present-day, highly-technical, ribbon-less, white-out-less, and even paper-less communications.
Kids today generally take all of this ‘for granted’ (I am Not referring to my Grandson of course!) – having no idea of ‘how it was’ just a short time ago. It was not that long ago when Transoceanic Phone Cables were laid between the Continents and on the Ocean Floors.
Such an endeavor necessitated Ocean Surveys which were immensely expensive and required many years of effort. After all, you would not want to drop a cable into a deep hole using up a mile or two straight up and down! They had to discover the flattest, least active surface possible in order to save on the ‘length of cable’ – and to cut down on eventual financial and labor-intensive repairs.
Today those thousands of miles of deep, thick, cable lines, have been replaced by an entirely new generation of Light Alloys and High-Impact Plastics. The most modern of these are complete with Solar Powered Umbrella or Fan-like Generators, elaborate computer systems, and are compacted into Light-weight Satellites that are moving at programmed and minutely measured speeds, and in complicated precisely set orbits – high above the Earth’s Oceans and Continents.
The capability and the capacity of a single Satellite System in our day to transmit wireless digital, audio, and video, is nearly ‘limitless’. Even the best Cables of the mid 1900s could only pass several hundred phone and telegraphic communications, at the same time. I could not help but think about how it use to be … or … how it had been for Me. After all I was in Communications in the Navy and profoundly interested in its’ workings.
Back to Simpler Times and Simple Things …
Once upon a time … People actually had to ‘wait’ when communicating. You had TIME to Think! For instance …
The anticipation of THAT package that ‘was coming from Mom’. What would it include? Cans of Sausages? Spicy Crackers? Beef Sticks or Jerky? Clams? Sardines? A Jar of Cherries? Hershey Bars or Milk Chocolates? It was amazing when you eventually did receive such a package at ‘Mail Call’.
Suddenly … EVERYONE was your ‘best friend’! The entire Barracks seemed to develop a Hounds Sense of Smell, Zeroing IN on YOUR Care Package!
And there were the other long-anticipated, heart-palpitating, brow-sweating ‘letters’ … from the ‘girl back home’.
Many of the songs from the 60s and early 70s were Love Songs filled with scripts of Romance bearing the Fruits of Intense, Loving, Passion. Carly Simon, both beautiful and amply gifted … spoke to all of ‘us’ in her memorable melody ‘Anticipation‘.
It was impossible to close your eyes and ‘listen’ without picturing that ‘certain someone’ back home. As you did you were transported far away from the uninviting pea-green block walls and cold tile floors, drifting serenely homeward. The more time you had to think, the clearer the thoughts revealed your ‘real feelings’ and ‘hopefully’ hers.
The Magic …
You waited for ‘that’ letter. And when you had it in your hands you did not rush to open it. Her hands had touched it just a few days before. And … her lips … had sealed it. It was the most recent proof that she actually existed and was not simply a fancy of your imagination nor the mere mirage of your distant past.
And before you actually broke the seal of that packet of hopefully perfumed information, you found the quietest, loneliest place. When it was finally opened, you read each line at least twice and took long breaths in-between paragraphs. You were in no-hurry to arrive at the ‘I Love You’ salutation.
And ‘when’ it was finally finished, you were hushed, solemn, thoughtful. Only your ‘best friend’ would possibly be privy to parts of what she said. And there was ‘stuff’ they would never see or hear.
Yes, those were the days when the simplest line of a letter … had ‘great meaning’. It is not so today.
While I have a sincere appreciation for the many major advances we have enjoyed and do employ in our daily ‘talks’ with one another … there is something radically ‘missing’.
- Time to Think
- Time to Respond.
- Time to Laugh.
- Time to Cry.
- Time … to Feel.
It is gone – and that to our great loss.
If You are ‘old enough’ you know precisely what I am saying … The ‘Magic’ is seldom felt today. There may be Flash and Glitter … but … there is too little Magic and even less … Anticipation.
And Sadly … I cannot remember the Day the Magic Died. I may have been caught up and too much of a hurry … to have noticed.