We live anywhere we carry our smart phones or our laptops.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983
There's no "home" home any more
April 24, 2011
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, The Post-Standard
There's no "home" home. We don't live there any more.
We live anywhere we carry our phone. That can be any place where we are. I can't call you at home any more and know you're actually at the address where you live; if you're like me and millions of others, you're always where your phone is.
For more than a century, calling your "home" phone and getting a live answer was a totally sure way of knowing you were home.
Not any more.
We live anywhere we carry our smart phones or our laptops. That can be just about any place where we are. Fifteen years ago, if you used e-mail at all, you typed on a computer that took up half your desk, at your actual home. You probably did that 10 years ago, too. Maybe even five years ago.
Today, when I send a message to your "home" by e-mail, I can't really tell if you're home when I get your reply. You could be anywhere.
I'm not sure when this change in American life finally took place. It had been happening gradually for years. I remember calling my brother's home phone 20 years ago and finding out, to my astonishment, that he was driving. His "home" number wasn't the number where his "home" was; it was the number where (italic) he (end italic) was.
In the past, when I dropped my car off for service, the employee at the desk would ask for my home phone number -- meaning, of course, the number where I live and not where I work. Now, when I do the same thing, the service writer says something much more significant: "Give me a number where I can reach you."
Everybody seems to know we're not "home" any more. We can be reached where we are, not where we spend our evenings. Wherever we go, there we are. That's home.
You may already know that your phone number can follow you wherever you go, at least within an area code. If you change carriers, you can keep your old number. No one has to know you got kicked out of the old apartment.
The time has come for the same treatment for e-mail addresses. You should get a permanent one when you get your Social Security number. It should follow you wherever you go. After all, that's where your "home" is.
And everyone who writes to you would love it. After all, you never have to change your name; if you're Harry now, you'll be Harry later. Why should you have to change your e-mail address?
If you agree, find me on Facebook and send me a comment. Or send a note to my "home." That's firstname.lastname@example.org.