When I used to drive between college in Boston and my home in Mount Airy, NC in the late sixties and early seventies, I could tell where I was by the radio station.
You could pick up some local news and weather. Today real local radio stations are hard to find. We get our weather from looking at one of the gadgets in the car.
Radio in our case is XM, though it might not be much longer given how poorly the new antenna is performing.
Still technology, google maps, Accuweather long range forecasts, and satellite radio have created a cocoon for us as we travel.
When you throw in chain restaurants and pay at the pump, it is little wonder that it is hard to tell one place from another.
I can still remember one fateful evening on the way back to Boston in the old days. The belt driving the fan on my Jaguar XK-E broke on the Interstate highway. This was well before cell phones. I waited for the engine to cool and drove a mile or so a couple of times.
That got me to a local filling station which was still open on a Friday night. Unfortunately he didn’t have a fan belt to fit my car. He gave me a ride to the local hotel in Hagerstown and said he would pick me up in the morning.
Good to his word, he showed up the next morning, and we found out that the closest thing in town was a belt for a washing machine. I bought three, and he quickly installed one, and I was back on the road.
No Onstar, no cell phone, no triple AAA, and no advance computer registration at the hotel. Laptops had not been invented. Being wireless meant someone ripped your wires out. How did I manage to survive?
I wonder if the lack of interaction with the local world as we fly by in our technology aided cocoons has made for more or less understanding of our neighbors?