Please pardon the slightly self-pitying note in this rant. I've really been feeling my age lately, and I suppose I just need to vent.
I had dinner with my niece and nephew last night (ages 18 and 24, respectively) and the conversation took various turns. Both of them were attached to their phones throughout the visit, and often couldn't resist the urge to "check out" and start scrolling in search of something. It was a pleasant enough meal, but I felt like I may as well have had two complete strangers over given that we (seemingly) don't have much in common, and that family doesn't seem to interest them. I am trying to factor in their ages, but they seem to function on a level I don't pretend to understand.
You know you're at the half century mark when.....
For most of your life, phones were mounted to the wall. For a good deal of that, they were rotary. It wasn't uncommon to grow up with only one phone in the house, or to have classmates who didn't have one.
Television was free. You didn't have to pay to get a picture, but you'd better have a good set of rabbit ears. In some places, color TV was still a luxury. Your older relatives didn't have a TV set at all. You and your siblings were the remote control, and your father WAS NOT to be disturbed during Dragnet, or M*A*S*H.
EVERYTHING was closed on Sundays, except churches. Even gas stations were closed.
One day you realize you have more family and friends already up in Heaven than those left alive down here. You (unconsciously, or not) tend to avoid looking at old family photos because sometimes, the bitter outweighs the sweet.
The only places that had air-conditioning were hospitals, movie theaters, and supermarkets. You made do with a fan at home, and got used to marinating in your own sweat at night before you eventually passed out. People that had window unit ACs were considered wealthy.
Getting to go with your parents to a store was the treat. If they took you to Woolworth's or Sears, it didn't automatically follow that you were going to leave with something. Gifts were reserved for Christmas and birthdays. Likewise, going to a McDonald's (or out to eat at all) was a big deal and not a regular occurrence.
You keep meaning to sit down with one of those nice folks at the local funeral home and discuss the whole "pre-planned and pre-paid" funeral package thingy. Cremation keeps looking better and better.
Saying "Merry Christmas" wasn't considered an insult, nor were Christmas decorations. You still had class Christmas parties the last day of school before it let out for the holiday.
Your mother promised you some kind of treat if you'd carefully put all her S & H Green Stamps neatly into that little book so she could take them to the redemption store. She only needed maybe 30,000 for that toaster oven.
You guys feel free to contribute your own thoughts, experiences, recollections.
Thanks David. I guess sometimes I just wonder where the time went. I work around people who are (for the most part) younger than me, so finding others who can relate to things I remember is somewhat of an uncommon occurrence. I think the computer babies (those born after 1980, in my view) don't fathom that there was a time when we weren't all attached 24/7/365 to an electronic gadget.
I turn my phone off when I get home too. Anyone who really needs to get hold of me can dial me on the old land line :-)
I wish that I had known that, when I was around 50, my chest hair would start turning white. I think that ages me more than anything.
LOL, yeah. It's a little disturbing when white hair starts showing up without your permission in places other than the top of your head.
a lot of things happen after 50
white hairs included
Perhaps if I had a pleasant childhood I'd be all like "I miss the olden days."
I didn't and I don't miss them at all. I love living now.
At 52, I grew up during the 70s, and apart from some major cultural events, such as Star Wars and women's rights, the decade was full of dreck. Most programming from those years is unwatchably bad. Music equally appalling.
The information age and great disconnected connectedness I've used to transform myself, mentally and physically. Tools my parent's generation did not have, living their middle aged years empty and lonely. I've gotten to meet some awesome men who have helped me greatly that I would never have without the internet. And I've gotten to share equally my own wisdom to help others as well.
Yea, I see having dinner with two young relatives a drag 'cause they are checking their phones, it would give me leave to check my own social media statuses with people I'd rather be spending time with anyway.
We actually do have free TV; but it's full of commercials. Our HD TV antenna pulls in an extraordinary picture. But who misses actually having to be home when a certain show is on? I'd much rather sit down when I am ready to spend an hour's viewing, rather than vice versa. My kids will never know that, nor have their viewing restricted to a large screen in a living room or den.
Cel phones: as parent of a young driver I know she has instant access to us anytime she goes out. My parents simply had to worry till we got there or came back.
And the a/c; how is that not a good thing? I can adjust the temp. settings on my ipad without getting out of bed. When is not getting a good nights sleep due to weather a good thing?
As for that wall phone, what a pain. We have one because our kitchen is period and looks good with one, but when it rings I usually let it go to voicemail. The cord drives me crazy. How can I let the dog out while talking?
Thank goodness I live now.
@ Carl Monster. Carl, I didn't mean to sound as though I'm asserting that everything involved in our contemporary lives-manner of living is awful. There are some advantages to living now. While the "good old days" weren't as great as we sometimes make them, they weren't altogether bad either. Like you said, a lot of how fondly we recollect our childhoods comes down to how happy they were. Mine was a mixed bag. I sure wouldn't want to go back to living without air-conditioning, though. Not in Florida. Carbon footprint be damned :-)
My whine was just a stream-of-consciousness rant thinking about what totally different worlds my younger relatives are coming of age in as opposed to the one I recall from my youth. I can't imagine ignoring any of the elders in my family at the dinner table had such things as cell phones been around back then, but contemporary ideas on manners are far more relaxed. Of course, people look back over that time in their lives differently given the atmosphere of the home they were raised in and what (or how many) traumas they experienced in their early life. As opposed to my grandparents, and parents, I had it made. I'm glad for what I had, and for what I have now.
Hey, the '70's weren't THAT bad. Ok, we lost Elvis and Lynard Skynard. And we had Disco. Ok, the Bee Gees COULD pass for the Anti-Christ. And the whole Iran thingy was a catastrophe. So was 'Watergate'. But we DID have Wide World of Sports, Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football, Mark Spitz in the Olympics, and we could ride our bicycles anywhere we wanted just so long as we got home when the street lights came on.
In short, I guess the 1970's weren't that darn good either. :)
@ Michael Martin. Great memories are worth more than people realize. Mine have helped get me through some pretty awful periods in my life. I hope your health will improve. In today's world, 56 is still relatively young.