Winter Storm Nemo: Stranded Without a Charger

LAX Delays 12/20/07

LAX Delays 12/20/07 (Photo credit: andysternberg)

Winter Storm Nemo didn’t do much in my neck of the woods other than fill my driveway with snow and make the dogs happy. While the dogs happily frolicked outside, I tried to figure out whether my mother, who had arrived in LAX Thursday morning to find her flight to Boston cancelled, had caught a flight home or been stranded for another day.

She’s one of the unlucky ones who found their travel plans disrupted by the closing of Boston’s Logan as well as every other New England airport. Hard to fly back from the West Coast when the East Coast is shut down. Hard for your family to figure out where you are when you forget your phone charger and are running low on battery.

Solar Charger and Nokia N82

Solar Charger and Nokia N82 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course my mother’s generation didn’t grow up with cell phones and smart phones. She grew up with party lines and pay phones. Her cell phone isn’t the way she communicates with the world, gets news, and keeps updated with her friends. It’s a phone.

In her world, someone meets her at the airport rather than waits for her in the cell phone parking lot. If her flight gets cancelled, she goes to the ticket counter and talks to a person rather than trying to rebook online. When she finds herself stuck overnight at an airport, she strikes up conversations with strangers to pass the time rather than  spending time playing Candy Crush or Words With Friends. Shutting off her cell phone to conserve the battery doesn’t bother her in the least because she’ll turn it on if she wants to talk to someone.

Being incommunicado is not a scary thing to my mother.

No Service

No Service (Photo credit: SkyWideDesign)

And maybe that’s not a bad thing, but my generation is used to being in touch.  Whether it’s updating Facebook. tweeting, or texting, you know where we are. We leave a wide digital swath behind us. Tracking us down is easy and we never forget a power cord.

As tethered as I am to electronics, part of me realizes that my mother’s casual attitude toward being connected isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She’ll return from her hours in the airplane terminal with a different experience. She might not know the latest weather update or the specials at the local restaurant, but she’ll have made friends and shared memories with her fellow unwired passengers. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

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