When the only way to reach someone, who was not already standing right in front of you, was to call them on the phone and hope they were home or write them a letter and drop it in the mail or get yourself physically over to their dwelling place and leave a paper note taped to their door, that was when showing up to regularly scheduled events was really important. School, church, work. Getting a hold of you was actually quite difficult, and the present moment did a much better job. Sure, there were still the day-dreamers who couldn’t be contained by glass and concrete. But most of us were stuck in our immediate surroundings and unknowingly happier than if we had had a tap on everything and everyone else in the world like we do now.
When my tweenage friends and I were wandering through the woods miles from our houses, that’s where we were. We knew we weren’t supposed to be, but we were. No one could call a rectangle in our pockets to tell us of a better party across town, or remind us to be home by dinner. If we got lost there was no aerial view to show us that a road was a mere 100 yards away and where that road would lead us. The weather forecast was something we might have overheard the night before when our parents’ watched the news. We had to remember and pay attention and stick together.
I’m nostalgic for those days when accountability mattered, the present was all around you, and “tween” wasn’t an age yet.