Lost and found

You can tell it is holiday time when you find yourself watching a tv programme that you would never normally come across. Earlier this week it was “Long lost family” – a programme that tries to reunite people with family they have never met or knew existed in last night’s case. So a 55 year old man was trying to trace his biological mother who gave him up for adoption as a baby and a mother who had given her daughter up for adoption at the age of three months was trying to trace her daughter. The former’s mother had died but he was reunited with a sister he didn’t know that he had. The mother and daughter were reunited so in both cases there was happiness and some degree of closure.

Quite apart from feeling slightly uncomfortable at intruding on the raw and personal emotions of these poor people, I couldn’t help thinking about the thousands of people who want to trace family and are unable to do so. Or the tragic cases you hear about where family are traced but don’t want to meet the person looking so desperately for them. Does it soothe our guilt at the disconnectedness of modern life by seeing these happy yet untypical reunions? About a month ago the remains of a dead woman were found about three miles from where I live. Despite high publicity, fairly decent descriptions and eventually a photo-fit reconstruction of the woman’s face it took almost all of that time for the woman to be identified.

Too many people are just lost and don’t want to be found. And even in our modern world of sophisticated surveillance and advanced technological data search and retrieval, people can just tragically become invisible and disappear. Makes you think doesn’t it?

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4 thoughts on “Lost and found

  1. It does make you think, and in days gone by it was so much easier just to disappear; the mobile phone and the internet have got a lot to answer for, in good ways as well as bad! I forgot my mobile at the show last weekend and there was a strange sense of freedom that I remember from childhood. As for these reality programmes, even serious ones as you describe, I’m not at all sure. I’m going off TV permanently, I think! Even when there’s a good drama on, the ad breaks are as long as the programme portions. I admire people for wanting to trace their ancestors or long-lost relatives but I know pretty well that I wouldn’t want my emotions aired to the nation while I was doing it!

    • Thanks Jo. I’m a bit of a dinosaur as regards mobile phones. I still possess one which I had for a previous job but I very rarely use it. I agree with you about tv – there is very little worth watching – barely justifies paying the licence fee I feel sometimes. I think folk just put themselves through these lost and found tv programmes because they receive help in tracing their family. I could be wrong but I can’t see any other possible reason for putting yourself through that in front of millions of people.

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  2. In some ways I find it amazing that people can disappear nowadays, given all the methods we have for staying in touch with each other. However, if you really want to disappear I’m sure it’s entirely possible to cut all your ties and vamoosh. You’d have to be very independent to do that though, and prepared to lose the great benefits of having people around you that you know and trust. I think one of the reasons these programmes are so successful is that people don’t communicate with each other in everyday life the way they used to, and watching TV sort of makes up for what we’re missing. We get to share the emotions of others on the screen without having to give anything of ourselves, which is, now I come to think of it, rather selfish. As someone brought up in the age of TV I feel quite comfortable with the anonymity I have in my community but I can’t help thinking I might be missing something by being so out of touch with my neighbours. It’s nice to think that people are looking out for you and would notice if you weren’t around for a few days. Luckily I have a very good neighbour for that, but I don’t know that I’m much of a neighbour myself.

    • It’s a funny thing isn’t it. Perhaps there is a difference between the city and the country and more people live in cities nowadays. I guess it depends on the individual and some people find it easier to be “neighbourly” than others. I think you’re spot on about reality tv and why we devour so much of it. And yes it is selfish in a way. Perhaps the pendulum will swing back the other way sometime.

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