Mayberry, NC is the home of one of the most beloved television programs of all time, The Andy Griffith Show. But as far as technology, there really wasn’t a lot by today’s standards. In one episode in particular, “Crime Free Mayberry”, Barney Fife is upset at the modern marvels of the neighboring Mt. Pilot police department and jealous because Mayberry was so far behind the times. He told Andy, “We don’t have any submachine guns, no tear gas, and we don’t even have a “hee-lio-copter.” Barney decries to the fake FBI agent that “Sir, we’re working under very primitive conditions here.”
What would Barney have been able to do had they had a radio dispatch operator other than Sarah, the town phone operator, a computer mounted in the Ford Galaxy patrol car for access to outstanding Warrant records, an Eye-in-the-Sky heat camera for tracking escaped criminals on the run, or even an iPhone?The technology wasn’t prevalent in Mayberry, but some of the Technology that we have today has replaced what the folks in Mayberry used to communicate.
So often, Mayberry folks had heart-warming interactions, which were lessons for us, by way of face-to-face interactions. You might see two friends, sitting down to talk with one another about a situation...a nephew sharing feelings with his Aunt…or a father having a heart-to-heart with his son. Today we could do the same thing, but it might be via an email, a text, a Tweet, or a Snap Chat. We share what’s going on in our lives with a Facebook message or with an Instagram photo and comment. And as you know, people tend to share more boldly via Social Media without having to look the other person(s) in the eye. We can share thoughts or pictures, but it’s hard to read the voice inflection, the excitement, the sadness, the concerns, and joy that we get with face-to-face interaction. So although technology and connecting with friends using the many tools that are available is great…it is wonderful to spend time talking with friends over a meal or a cup of coffee, with our phones in our pockets or out of reach.It wasn't that long ago that we didn't have email, text messages or cell phones. We did our banking in the bank with a Teller. We did our shopping by going to the store. We checked in at the airport with a flight assistant instead of an App on our mobile devices.
Whether we will admit it or not, we all have a strong primal need to be remembered, to connect, and to belong to something outside of ourselves and our immediate environment. Technology can certainly put us in touch, but don't forget to connect as human beings. Reach out to others; share your lives with friends and family...with a handshake, a hug, and face-to-face communication...just like we used to do.
Next time you are out at a restaurant; take an informal poll of the lost art of talking and sharing face-to-face. Look around and see how many folks are on their phones while sitting across the table from friends and family members…not talking. Technology is great, but I still think the world needs a little more Mayberry.