How we survived before the ubiquitous net and cell phones

1. How did you make plans? But seriously. HOW DID YOU MAKE PLANS. THIS REMAINS A MYSTERY.

Quite simple – you called your friends and made plans. We did have wireline phones.

2. How did you CANCEL plans? So you’re stuck in traffic and you’re not going to make it to dinner with your friend. How in the WORLD did you let this friend know? You didn’t have a cell phone. He/she didn’t have a cell phone. People must have gotten stood up on back then… a lot.

You pulled over and found a pay phone. They were everywhere back in the day.

3. How did you know who was calling you before you picked up the phone? Did you just answer the phone without knowing who was going to be on the other end? That sounds so… adventurous.

You didn’t know. That was part of the way it worked.

4. How did you get rid of the fear that is calling people? I’m the girl who has skipped appointments and put off apartment hunting just because I have no interest dealing with phone conversations with someone other than my mom or boyfriend.

Sometimes you just shut the the ringer off on the phone or disconnected the phone from the jack.

5. How did you find out information about people before you went on dates with them? Like, you couldn’t Google them… so how did you find out about them? Did you, like, have to talk to them to find out information? What if they lied? How could you trust them? HOW COULD YOU TRUST ANYONE?.

Thing was social circles got huge. And you tended to date within that social circle so you’d get the 4-1-1 from friends.

6. How did you find people to date in the first place??? It’s hard enough to find someone to date online these days. How did you so many people find significant others back then?

Um hello – see the above questions. You had friends galore and a big pool to choose from.

7. How did you keep tabs on exes? Oh wait, you didn’t? That sounds smart. And also healthy. TOO BAD THE INTERNET HAPPENED.

Never found it necessary to keep any tabs on exes. I find people who feel the need to do so boring and predicatable.

8. How did you keep tabs on what you’re entire graduating class from high school was doing? You mean that’s was reunions were for? I thought reunions were for seeing all those people you witnessed becoming fat on Facebook in person.

Simple – school I went to published an alumni directory. Pretty easy to find people.

9. How did you look for jobs? And then apply to jobs? But seriously. This is a legit question. And when you did find jobs, how did you apply? Did you manually write cover letters? And resumes? THE HORROR.

It’s called friends or the newspaper.

10. How did your parents get in touch with you when you were out? This might have been the only perk of life before internet. Less annoying parents.

You had an answering machine. I had a nice little Sanyo answering machine. Just leave a message, maybe I’ll call. And some of us had SkyTel pagers.

11. How did your survive waiting for meetings, appointments, trains, or anything without being able to pass time by pretending to look busy on your phone? Like how did you avoid eye contact with people? Did you READ A BOOK? Did you stare at the wall? Did you play with your fingers? Confused.

You had a book or magazine or newspaper. And when I was in my 20’s we did have portable

12. How did you do ANYTHING at work before email? Now if the internet doesn’t work, offices basically shut down. But once upon a time internet didn’t work, so please someone tell me how that all went down.

You actually worked. And gossiped with co-workers.

13. How did you tell co-workers (or someone else you were meeting) that you were going to be late when you were stuck in traffic or stuck on some disabled subway car? Did you just risk getting fired all the time? Or was life better because people didn’t expect you to be in constant communication all the time. Probs that.

You either just kept going and if you could find a pay phone you used that.

14. How did you sign up for classes at the gym? Did you have to like, physically GO to the gym and sign up by writing your name on a piece of paper hours or days before the class took place? Because that’s just, like, a huuuuge inconvenience.

Yeah – you had to drag your sorry ass to the gym and sign up there.

15. How did you know where you were or where you were going ever? Did you have carry around a real live map on you at all times? Did you also have a compass? Were you also John Smith in Pocahontas? I’m onto you…

It’s called a map – which the good folks at AAA would plan out for you if you had a membership.

16. What did you have to do if you broke down on the side of the road? I know, I know. Payphones existed. But did they exist everywhere? Were you, like, the subject of a Lifetime movie where you had to walk the streets until you found a house and hope a rapist/murderer didn’t open the door after you knocked?

Pay phones were fairly ubiquitous. But then you forget we had citizens band radios and some of us were hams and had VHF/UHF radios with access to repeaters that had a thing call auto-patch – you could make telephone calls over the repeater.

17. How did you always have change on you to use these pay phones? Did you really carry a bunch of cash and coins on you??? LOL, WHAT IS MONEY THAT IS NOT ON A CREDIT CARD.

Yeah carried cash back then for payphones – two quarters. Or you had a calling card or you figured out how the Bell System did calling cards and billed your calls to an unwitting victim.

18. How did you research anything for school? Did you have to go through the Encyclopedia? Do youths even know what Encyclopedias are? Because I doubt it. But anyway, how did you pass school?

Yes Encyclopedias were one part. But we also had a thing called a public library. Those libraries had a thing called a reference desk. That was what you did.

19. How did you find out about the weather? Did you have to watch The Weather Channel? Because, if so, that sucks.

The newspapers had forecasts and even TV news had them too. Or you just stuck your head out the door and dressed accordingly.

20. How did you stay in touch with friends? Did you only have, like, 3 friends? Because that is a huge undertaking to keep in touch with any more than 3 people on a regular basis via a phone you could only use at home. I can barely stay in touch with  people through texting and gchat and email and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter… Life must have been real hard back then, guys.

You saw them on the streets or you called them. Pretty simple. And if you had trouble remembering friends phone numbers you had you little black book of numbers.

You’d think the person who came up with these questions could have done a little research.

One thought on “How we survived before the ubiquitous net and cell phones

  1. And it all seemed to work good enough.
    It is still amazing to go to places which lack time saving devices as you suddenly have lots of time.

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