While we’ve been living it up in AZ these past four months, our kids back at home have had to handle important household chores for us. Gathering our mail once a week and sending it to us; watering my pitiful plants, one of which came from a cutting from Bill’s mom; shoveling snow, which mostly didn’t happen until this month. For their help, we are most grateful.
I got a text from Jll yesterday, around the time that I knew she and Addie arrived at our house to water plants. How did I know they had arrived? Our wonderful RING program which allows us to see all the activity that happens at our front door. Take that, Burglars.
Anyway, here’s what Jll’s text said: Something funny about the next generation. They are bad with keys. My kids struggle to use the keys to open your mailbox and house. They are a remote and keypad generation. It is so weird.
At first that struck me as odd, but I started thinking about our house and our cars. The car keys can be kept in your purse or pocket because you just press a button to start the car. Of course, my car is a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle that not only requires a key, but still has a cassette deck; I missed an entire generation of ways to enjoy music in your car – the CD! But it’s yellow, so there’s that. At any rate, while our front door does have a lock requiring a key, we also have a remote opener on our garage door, not to mention the remote controls we carry in our car.
It really is funny to think about what those that Jll refers to as “the next generation” would think if they could time travel back to the 1960s and 70s, never mind the 50s. You have your rotary phones which basically dialed your number using sparks. They were slow. You hated to dial any of your friends who had lots of zeros or nines in their phone number. Imagine an emergency situation where you had to dial 911. Even worse if you’re in England and have to dial 999. Would our next-generationers even be able to figure out what to do if we handed them a rotary phone?
And wouldn’t they laugh at our televisions? Those literal pieces of furniture that were massive in size but had a screen about the size of an iPad. They weighed as much as a Mac truck, and when they broke down, you didn’t just go to Walmart and buy a new one. You called in the television repairman.
Following my recent book club meeting, several of us stayed longer because we began talking about our TV experiences as a child. Remember when you didn’t have 24/7 programming? At some point in the night (midnight?), programming wrapped up, and you listened to the National Anthem as you looked at an American Eagle until it faded away until the next morning.
And we had maybe three or four channels. ABC, NBC, CBS, and maybe a random local channel. If the weather was bad, the antennae could go on the fritz and you were out of luck until it could be straightened up once again.
Baby Boomers such as me like to think of those as simpler times. But I have to admit to enjoying my Sirius radio and keyless entry. I like having a couple of hundred television stations from which to choose (though I probably use only 10; still, I appreciate possibilities). I like Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu and iPads and iPhones and being able to change channels without having to get out of my chair.
Still, it’s fun to recall those simpler times when you didn’t have to close your eyes for most of the programming, even on regular television and surprisingly early in the evening.
And don’t even get me STARTED on cursive writing.