Stuck in the Present

Old typewriter and laptop, concept of technology progress. Image from

Our Friday Fox asked, “Have you ever visited a part of the country where things were done as an older time, or were far more modern than you are accustomed?”

I’ll begin with the second part of the question. Assuming that the word modern refers to the use of technology, it’s difficult for me to imagine a place in America where life is more modern than mine. There are many, many people who live a much more affluent lifestyle, but it seems that wealth allows them to have more people to do their bidding, or to purchase more of what they already have, which isn’t a modern concept. According to my children, I’m much more “plugged in” than they are. We have a doorbell that lets us see who is at the front door before we answer it (sometimes we don’t answer). We have a thermostat that can be adjusted from our phones, so we never have to walk over to it. Thanks to a magician in our phones, we don’t even have to type out questions – we just look at the phone and say “Hey, Siri, what time does McDonald’s open?” and we instantly get an answer. I tend to live in a digital world, or at least have my toes and ankles dipped in it. 

My hubby and I recently purchased a new condo, and it was an entirely different experience than what we went through thirty years ago. Our realtor came over, and we told him what we were looking for. He then began sending us emails with various listings including details and photos, and we would let him know which ones interested us. Once we found one we liked, much of the process of buying it was online  – submitting a bid, applying for a mortgage loan, getting insurance, changing utilities, even signing the purchase agreement and all the loan papers. We still had to sign our names several times at the closing, but it wasn’t nearly the ordeal it used to be.

Teaching is much more streamlined than it was when I first started. Even before schools were obliged to go virtual, I did a lot of things online. Students submitted their assignments through an online portal, I graded them, and returned them the same way. Final grades were done through another portal. This fall, I’ll be teaching a class entirely online, and I’m not entirely happy about not being face-to-face with my students, but I’ll adjust. 

I would imagine that in larger cities, there might be more examples of technology, but in general, my friends who live there don’t seem to have any more gadgets and gizmos than we have.

As for places that remind me of the past, I’ve visited areas where life moves at a slower place. One that comes to mind is Shipshewana, Indiana, home of what’s billed as the largest flea market in the midwest. It’s also home to a very large Amish settlement, where homes have no electricity, very few have telephones of any kind, and people don’t drive cars. Although I haven’t gone into an Amish home, I’ve shopped in several Amish-owned shops and dined in a few Amish restaurants, and found a sense of contentment and peace. It’s a very simple life that one would almost have to be born into in order to appreciate it.

Living quite close to an urban area, I suppose it’s a general misconception among my circle of acquaintances that people in rural areas live in the past, but I know that’s not always the case. Recently, I traveled to Southern Illinois for a funeral. The hotel where I stayed was near the southern point of the state, quite a distance from any large city, but it was quite comfortable and had all the amenities one would expect anywhere, including two electric car chargers in the parking lot. 

Recently, I’ve seen ads for “unplugged retreats” where you can go to escape technology. Your devices are locked up when you get there, and you spend time in a small cabin with very basic accommodations. People go there to read and relax and get away from the rest of the world. I suppose I could handle that for an hour or two, but then I’d want to get back to my hamster-in-a-wheel life. At some point in my life, I imagine I’ll slow down, but hopefully not for some time.

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
This entry was posted in Daily life, lifestyles, Patricia Kiyono, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Stuck in the Present

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Love your comment (about the rustic retreat), “I suppose I could handle that for an hour or two, but then I’d want to get back to my hamster-in-a-wheel life.”
    I’m not any where near as plugged in as you seem to be, but I don’t think I’d feel comfortable with the notion of my devices being “locked up” and inaccessible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I would hope that they’d make an exception for family emergencies – but then how would you learn about them without access to your texts and/or emails? I like the idea of alone time for writing, though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff Salter says:

        yes, the setting and the “designation” of that destination would make for a good writing experience. But I don’t like people posting rules for me. LOL


  2. I live in a high technology area, Houston, Texas, but my mind often goes back to my childhood summers spend in and around Menagha, Minnesota. I even wrote a paranormal short story about my favorite lake in all the world, Spirit Lake. As a kid, I spent every summer from about 1950 through the 1960s in that lake. Occasionally, I go to the Menagha website just to see what’s going on. Not much seems to have changed there. Here’s what the home page of the website says:

    Menahga was platted in 1891, and named for the Ojibwe language word meaning “there are (many) blueberries”. The post office has been in operation at Menahga since 1891.

    In the heart of Menahga sits the beautiful Spirit Lake, complete with a fishing pier and sugar sand beach. During the summer months free concerts are held by the lake…

    Check out our Campground, complete with bathrooms, showers, electric and water campsites, horse shoe pit, playground, volleyball court, and pavilions.

    Some things have changed in this little country town, but I hope not much. If it weren’t for the long, cold winters up there, I’d love to live there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I’m sure the pictures I’ve seen of Spirit Lake don’t do it justice. Looks like a wonderful place to spend summers. But yes, winters up here can be brutal. I spent a week in Houston for my niece’s wedding, and had a wonderful time, but mostly I remember all the time I spent in the car going from place to place. Things sure are spread out in Texas!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That they are, and supper high paced. It’s as if I moved back to Chicago again. But Menagha used to be like stepping back in time for me. A laid-back pace and a place of beauty and peace. Wish I could go back and see it again. We don’t travel anymore, but I can dream. 🙂


    • Jeff Salter says:

      That was a great story, Sharon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Jeff. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It is probably my one and only paranormal tale. LOL But Uncle Hjelmer was such a great story-teller, I had to do him honor. Of course, I embellished it, just a tad (don’t ya know). LOL


  3. I suppose then, y our answer was No, you haven’t lived where things were “behind the times”; how fortunate for you.
    Your area should well up-to-date; Michigan always had that reputation, at least, the cities. I agree about the realtors. I have not bought a home in 28 years, but one son bought one a few months ago and the other in the process. Things have sure changed.


  4. You certainly sound as if you’re “plugged in”. My brother has a doorbell camera as well and I have access to it now that I do his yard and house work for him but I can’t get the hang of it. He has told me that you can talk to people through it so one day when my niece showed up I tried to use it and I just couldn’t figure it out!
    I’ve seen commercials for the thermostats you can use from your phone, I think the one that stands out the most was of a grandfather rocking his sleeping grandchild and he needed to adjust the temperature in the house. It was a sweet commercial.


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