Sunday, October 21, 2007


Technology is a reckless, take-no-prisoners force, relentlessly moving forward in fits and starts. Unstoppable. Sort of like Rosie O'Donnell at Old Country Buffet.

As I was eating cereal and listening to Dwight Yoakam's version of Wichita Lineman this morning, it occurred to me that as technology progresses, there will eventually be no more linemen. Granted, it will take a while, but within my lifetime, cellular and wireless will replace the need for phone lines. Underground power lines will carry electricity to houses, and, with rare exceptions, they are nearly maintenance-free.

The linemen are a disappearing breed.

Few images are as stirring as a view down a long, straight highway, with lines and poles running alongside, heat causing the mirage of puddles of water... until the curve of the earth takes it all over the horizon. Those lines have carried generations of telephone conversations, power for bedside lamps, and television signals.

I feel a little misty. While some consider them eyesores, there is something nostalgic about them. And the lineman is sort of a heroic figure, sometimes.

From vinyl records, to drive-in theaters and VCRs, technology is leaving quite a path of destruction. Movie rental stores are succumbing to pay-per-view, malls are giving way to online shopping. Most board games come on DVD now.

Not that I'm anti-technology, I am quite the eager consumer. My home is a monument to the electronics industry. My cars have all the latest gadgets. Heck, I used to have a car with a refrigerator in the back seat.

But I miss the old stuff sometimes. I wouldn't want to have to drive on hilly, narrow, curvy Route 66. But I sure wish I still could if I wanted. And all along it, there were telephone lines, and linemen keeping them in working order.

Where will all the birds sit?

I'll bet you can think of other cultural icons that will soon be going away.


Annie Jones said...

I love Dwight Yoakam's version of Wichita Lineman. It's a great song no matter who covers it, but as you've pointed out, the lineman has a new reason to be melancholy. I think, like many, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. It's great when it's truly needed, but I think there's too big a drive to create technology just because it can be created.

It makes me miss some of the "old ways".

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

We recently lost Latigo Flint.

Great post, BDD.

Lee Ann said...

I understand what you mean!
I too miss some of the things from the "old days"!!
Have a great week!
Lee Ann

OldHorsetailSnake said...

First of all, the birds will sit right over my car.

Second, bubble gum will disappear, to be replaced by red hots.

Randy Raley said...

You Can drive Route 66 if you want, and it;'s one cool way to feel nostalgic. I'm with ya, I get a little misty when I realize where we were as compared to now.