My late brother in law, Garry, graduated from the Bell and Howell School of Electronics in Kansas City in the early 60’s. They moved to California, and I believe he worked for General Electric. Whatever company it was, he worked with a team making picture phones.
Picture phones were supposed to be the next great thing. WE all pretty much had one telephone in our homes. So why not be able to see who you were talking to? There were almost no telemarketers calling in those days. If the phone rang it most certainly was someone who knew, or needed to speak to a member of your household.
I, at the ripe old age of 12, thought it was a bad idea. I mean the horrors were endless. What if you answered a picture phone in your night clothes? We had no caller ID and if you didn’t answer you missed the call. What if you were a teenager and the boy on the other end could see your hair in curlers? Heaven forbid! Or worse!
Remember these were the days when ladies changed their house dresses to dresses to go to the store. They put on lipstick combed their hair and wore their better shoes. We lived two blocks from downtown but this was a priority for a grocery store, hardware store or trip to the city hall to pay utilities.
So now it’s 2021. Skype has been around for a while, allowing you to talk to people via computer. When my daughter moved away after college we tried this. It just didn’t work for us. I was too critical of the junk needing tended to in the background. Why hasn’t she cleared her table? Is that a dish in her sink?
For my birthday she got me a Portal. It is a picture frame size device that connects to my internet and all my contacts on Facebook. It also plays my music, tell me the time and the weather and show me pictures I have taken.
My dilemma at first was, how do I dress for a call where I can be seen? Do I put on something she has bought me? Put on eye makeup? Lipstick? Place myself in front of the fireplace for that homey glow?
I threw caution to the wind and told Portal to call my daughter. She answered and it was wonderful. We had early morning coffee together. I got to see her new kitty and she talked to my dog. It was so nice to actually see her. I didn’t check the background to see if there was a dish in the sink, I don’t care what she is wearing. I guess age and distance makes you just grateful for the technology so you can spend even just a few minutes with the people who mean so much to you. Treasure those you love. Tell them often how you feel. Appreciate your family.
Portal , picture phones and etiquette?