Embattled Luddites face new threat

Sometimes it’s tough to be a Luddite.

I’ve written previously about the disappearance of payphones, which are becoming extinct because of physical assaults (vandalism), economic assault (widespread adoption of cell phone usage), and — lately — city officials.  I’ve been able to avoid the cell phone craze thus far, and my immediate  family manages pretty well without them — though I get a lot of harassment from friends & family who

a. think I should be reachable at all times

and

b. think I’m inviting disaster by not having a phone handy for emergencies.

I usually invite them to recall that the sky rarely fell in on people 20 years ago when almost no one had a mobile phone (and those who did needed a suitcase for it).  There seems to be a widespread amnesia about just how we all managed in those bad old days.  Maybe I’m tempting fate, but I think I can buck this trend a while longer, and for what many people pay for their phone plans, I’d rather spend that money on second-hand books.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

My family encountered a new Luddite challenge this summer — GPS systems are killing off the market for maps & street atlases.

Whenever my family goes off on a long car trip to somewhere we’ve never previously visited, our custom has been to arrive at our destination city/town and pick up a folding map or street atlas at a gas station, convenience store, supermarket or pharmacy.  All of those places used to feature a small rack of local maps for sale, and we have quite a collection of these at home from various trips.  But occasionally we encounter a gap in our collection as we did one time this past summer.

When we arrived at this particular city, we must have checked in with at least a half dozen places that typically used to sell maps — no one had any.  We finally found a rather incomplete tourist-oriented map at a visitor’s center, with which we did our best to find some of the places we wanted to visit.  It was a frustrating experience.

For any of you who may have Luddite leanings, I thought I’d give you a heads-up to start buying up maps & atlases while you still can.  They’re becoming as rare as payphones.

Lest I end on that depressing note, I should mention that there’s a Citgo on Thompson Road in Webster that still maintains a rack of maps.  If you need a map, you might stop by there & see what they have:

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2 thoughts on “Embattled Luddites face new threat

  1. In a similar vein, just today I was wondering if The Weather Channel still even shows the local radar (“on the 8’s”) or if they’ve completely given in to weather websites and now just air programs such as “Ice Pilots”, “Lifeguard!” and “Turbine Cowboys.”

  2. Bob Datz says:

    Hey, Uncle Bob here: I still have maps flopping out of the holders in my car, the local variety like “Charlton” and “The Brookfields” that are all ripped and coffee stained. The question that occurs to me is whether GPS has equalized the genders in terms of “asking for directions.”

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