In Christine Spiteri’s interview with 71-year-old Lewis Spiteri, there’s a statement which, like a piece of discarded chewing gum, looks innocuous but will stick to the sole of your shoes for at least a couple of miles.

Reminiscing about the pre-internet days, the grandfather – who has adapted well to technology – wonders, “I barely believe how we used to get any work done before.”

Let’s take that further. What did we do before we were connected?

Now here, it would be easy to go all nostalgic and remember the pre-internet, pre-smartphone, pre-tablet, pre-everything with a wire days like some sort of pastoral landscape in the Alvan Fisher tradition.

He found it where he should have looked first, on the internet, which is a net indeed, one that can be cast further than the eye can see- Yann Martel, Beatrice and Virgil

Human beings lived together with nature in harmony and the only blot on the landscape was a lost sheep, which would return at dusk, after a close shave with stringy-skinned wolves. And we would all live happily ever after in the light of a flickering candle.

But let’s be honest. Pre-internet days were as dull and monotone as that tinny music inside elevators. I remember long and boring conversations with past girlfriends on a crackling landline, wishing I could while away the time but not having any friendly tablet to do so.

Back in the days when public transport was on the bad side of worse, I would miss potentially lucky encounters because the bus was late and I couldn’t message my date.

I would struggle with my research and wait by the radio for my favourite song to play. My idea of the world was pieced together from jigsaw puzzle photos from some old glossy.

Friends lived in my village – outside the perimeter of my home to school routine were hordes of barbarians howling for my blood.

And at home, the only entertainment was a black and white telly which, like an old relative, kept repeating the same old story, over and over again.

Admittedly, time went by with its handbrake pulled up. Seconds ticked by like hours and summers were endless. But then, so were the winters.

techeditor@timesofmalta.com

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