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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Monday, August 16, 2010


It came to me the other day that one of the reasons I like Bayview Terrace, the little ordinary road nearby, is that it has no utility lines or poles. This insight is somewhat embarrassing, as I've been walking that road for, oh, 15 years. But wires lining roads are so common that we don't even see them anymore; roads without wires are so uncommon that we should be memorializing them.

The wires and cables used to be, in their way, comforting. The electrons and the conversations and the premium TV images were safely confined, obediently in their places, waiting for the human touch. Things have changed, course. Wires aren't needed so much; phone and Internet join the waves of radio and TV and solar radiation already sloshing around in the air, and we walk freely down lovely lanes getting our fixes without land-locked interference. The tables are turning. What used to be utilities are now necessities, and "they" can get hold of you anytime, anywhere. I wonder if the phones of the future will have "off" buttons at all.

My solution is of course always to leave the Blackberry in the bag. This may be against the current of the times, and I expect soon to be painting signs for the beginning and end of Bayview Terrace: "Cell-free Road Ahead. Violators will be Arrested and Sentenced to 15 Minutes of Quiet Staring at Moss." But what really worries me is if they figure out, on an industrial scale, how to make the transmission of electricity wireless. I won't be able to leave my machines behind.
They will be my head.

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