Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's Old is New

Somehow I got tagged to install phone lines the past few weeks. It has been an adventure climbing poles, skinning wire, and putting Network Interface Devices (NIDs) on the side of imaginary houses, becoming the true service technician I was presumably meant to be. I would have written off the past couple of weeks as trouble and tried to move quickly on from the incident, but I have taken a few gems away from the class. Namely, there are a lot of personalities in this world and a lot of perspectives just waiting to be heard.

Like last night. I spent an evening jabbing 25 cable pairs into a simulated apartment cable box, pretending to enable a building for telephone service. In the course of conversation, I stumbled upon some ideas long ago buried in my head - the idea of what's old is new again. I was talking with a former anthropologist & illustrator and current interactive producer about the trends in social networking. The idea that something is different this time around, we wandered to the subject of life stages. And the Roman Empire. And color theory (remember ketchup-mustard-pickle-pepper?). What was most striking is the commonality of the human condition, and the shared bonds we have as the psychological level with our ancestors. Above all else, we are social creatures and yearn to communicate with others. That's the whole point of telecommunications. Which led to a discussion of party lines from the rural past, but that's another story.

Before our 7:30pm "lunchtime" was over, this dialogue resolved itself so that we could all get on to our inside wiring of jacks and wall mounts exercise. But the point lingers, and my mind is opened for a brief moment again.
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