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My Doorbell Was Made By Motorola

December 25, 2013

I live in a suburban neighborhood with lots of kids in the same age-range as my own. We have friendly neighbors who like to have block parties and give out competitive Halloween candy. Folks wave from the open windows of their passing cars and will even stop in the middle of the street to talk to one another. But I’ve begun to notice a fear growing.

We have lots of walkers and joggers, and I noticed earlier this year that those folks don’t stop to talk. Or even wave or smile. Unless they have at least one dog with them. Those are the folks that are slow-down-and-chat-with-you friendly. I chalked it up to dog people just being warmer personalities. But then I began to notice that the same folks that would gladly stop their car to chat, wouldn’t do the same on foot (without a dog or two in tow). It was as though their cars stood in stead for their dogs. Was this a sense of safety?

It all finally began to click when Christmas rolled around. We had more than one friend drop off goodies on our front porch. In each case, the friends were very warm and talkative people (and we were home on each occasion), but we never heard a doorbell ring. Instead, we got text messages letting us know there were sweets by the door. These people that are such fun in carpool, trick-or-treating hordes, and block parties seemed completely put off by the idea of one-to-one, toe-to-toe communication. No cars, no dogs, no crowds. Is that what society is becoming?

These days, we don’t even get a knock at the door when the mail carrier, or UPS, or FedEx, leaves a package. They drop the boxes quickly and silently before slipping back into their ninja vehicles and driving away, an automated text message the only indication that we might want to open our front door. I guess I see the news stories about scammers and home invaders and so on, and I start to see why folks might hesitate at the front door… But everyone? Every time?

I think I get a little more Luddite every day as I age. I don’t hate technology – I love the advances for both the betterment of mankind and the pure entertainment – but I do hate what it has done to certain aspects of our society. I’d like to write more letters. I’d like to go back to a wired home phone with a really long, curly cord. I’d like to go back to ringing doorbells. Maybe you could do the same.

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