Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Complicated World

The world is getting smaller and smaller and more and more complicated. It seems wherever we go nowadays we can run into someone that either is from the same state or our hometown or who may have lived in the same neighborhood where we once presided. I am continually amazed at the fact that even living on this remove, small island in the Caribbean, people who visit here either come from or did not live far from where I resided before moving to Guanaja. And, this is not a merely a once-in-a-lifetime meeting. No, this happens all the time. The island does not get a lot of tourist or even boaters for that matter, but of those that do visit our shores, a surprising number of them come from some place some of us have lived at one time or another. I guess this just confirms the fact that people are constantly moving and the days of a family all being in one small area are gone.

Then, we come to the complications. Everything is more technical and it seems one must be well-read and up-to-date with present changes in order to cope. Engines are more complicated, cooking is more technical, communication is more varied. Heck, even taking a vacation requires more study and time. Our family use to jump in the car and head out “West” each summer to visit relatives; from Minnesota to the State of Washington was our annual trek. Now, people aren’t satisfied with going to the same place every year. They want change, excitement, new experiences, i.e., more work and more help planning these “fun” times is now necessary.

The work place is more high-tech and more education and training is required. This is one reason the third-world countries are so far behind. It bothers me that our young people cannot do math in their heads anymore and need a calculator for the simplest of tasks. It seems as if people have lost the ability to trust their brains and do thinking on their own.

People could once be unaffected if they missed a call from someone knowing that the individual would call them back. Now, people carry phones around plastered to their ears as if their world will come to some disaster if they are not constantly “in touch”. It saddens me to know that a law had to be passed in the States barring people from using their cell phones on planes. I for one am glad to see it happen as listening to these annoying people calling someone to announce “We have landed and I’m taxing up to the gate” is foolish. I wonder how we ever survived before?

Maybe we are lucky on Guanaja. We have little available to us and few choices. On the Mainland and in the U.S. when one goes into a store you are faced with a multitude of decisions. From choosing among 25-30 types of shampoos, 40 cereals, varying types of clothing, to an unprecedented choice of electronic gadgets, and the list goes on. Here on the island we have 3 large grocery stores and a handful of small, Mom-Pop corner stores with your basic supplies. Of course, large to us means about 3 aisles and a choice of 4 kinds of soup, 5 cereals, 4-5 types of canned vegetables and one type of olive! There is, thankfully, an ever-growing number of vegetable stands. Where at one time we only had 2, we now have about 6!
As to Malls - we have ours on Guanaja, but it is a little smaller and limited in its offerings. It contains the post office, 2-3 miscellaneous shops, a lunch counter and, for convenience, is across the street from the jail!

For the most part, I appreciate most of the high-tech gadgets. I mean, we are so thankful for internet. I may not have a working radio or T.V. but I can still get the news, weather, sports, craft information, order needed items, etc. on-line. Up until this year I did not have a telephone and really balked at getting a cell phone. We had a VHF radio and almost everyone on the island had one. It was a simple matter of calling someone, hoping they were within hearing distance to answer your call. Of course the downside was everyone could listen to your conversation (many people even monitored the VHF trying to get the latest news/gossip). But if no one was there, you would just wait and call later. I did break down and get a cell phone but because of where I live I only had a signal when standing out on the front porch. We solved the problem by buying an antenna but this means the phone is permanently situated in the house, connected to the antenna. This is ok but since the ring is so low (even at its loudest), if we are not in the same room or absolutely quiet, we do not hear it ring.

I am not adverse to change and, for the most part, welcome it. I still like simple things and enjoy the simple, basic life we lead on the island. But…….thank goodness we can have some place to go when the urge becomes overwhelming and we need “stuff” or diversion!

1 comment:

  1. You have really good insight. I agree with you. It's nice to live a simple life, but still appreciate having access to "stuff". I wrote a post about a year ago when I was selling all my "stuff" so we could move to Honduras.