I was reading this article on Yahoo this morning and it made me inexplicably sad. And old. I remember my grandma talking about the invention of the television and thinking she is, like, SO old. Now I realize I’ll be explaining to my daughter Violet and KID B about how my family used to rent videos AND a VCR when we wanted to watch movies. I don’t think we actually owned a VCR until I was ten or so. Also? We had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to rent the VCR.
Here are 7 things I plucked from the article that the little one cooking in your oven will likely never experience:
1. Videotape: In fact, with the demise of Blockbuster I figure our kids won’t experience the excitement of renting a movie from the video store at all. They’ll just push a button and download it from their TV. That’s what Serge and I did the other night when we were too lazy to drive to the Red Box.
2. Watches: Who needs a watch anymore? The time is always right there on your smartphone. Violet will probably view my silver watch (that I never wear) in the same way I view grandpa’s gold pocket watch on a chain. ANCIENT!
3. Landlines: I remember whiling away the hours in the coat closet of my childhood home. No, I wasn’t grounded. I was on the phone. Chattering for hours and hours with friends. The phone cord on the wall was stretched and distorted due to me dragging it around to talk on the phone from various private locales such as the coat closet or the pantry. Our little ones will giggle at the concept of a phone attached to a wall.
4. CDs: Anyone own a turntable? Or a record, for that matter? Exactly. Ever make fun of that 8-track you found in your parents’ possession. How about that first cassette you owned? Me, I bought Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation. Then The Bangles, the one that had that song Eternal Flame, remember that? In sixth grade I was gifted Guns & Roses, Appetite for Destruction (still one of the greatest albums of all time) and then INXS. I was the proud owner of four cassettes. Now a cassette is practically as old timey as a victrola. CDs are going the way of the 8-track and cassette, which is such a bummer. Albums used to be concept pieces. Meant to be heard in their entirety. And they were collectors pieces. Remember how fun it was to read the lyrics on the CD jacket? And alphabetize your CD collection? Now the latest song is as close as the nearest internet connection, and it may or may not be heard in conjunction with the rest of the album.
5. Hand-written letters: When was the last time you wrote a letter? When was the last time you wrote cursive? Do kids even learn cursive anymore? Kids born in 2011 probably won’t, but they’ll school you with their keyboard skills.
6. Mail: Don’t you pay most of your bills online? And if no one is sending letters, what’s left? Junk mail? Like Kramer on Seinfeld (remember that episode?) won’t most of us be opting out of mail service?
7. Yellow and White Pages: Does anyone even use these anymore?
8. Fax machines: Can you say “scan,” “.pdf” and “email?”
9. Paper maps: Your baby will never experience the frustration of trying to fold one of those damn things back up. What with smartphones and GPS they’re almost obsolete. However, I’ll admit I still have a book of maps of every state in America in my car. I love plotting a road trip on a big, old map and then playing navigator.
10. Books, magazines, and newspapers: This one horrifies me. Like video tape, words written on dead trees are on their way out. Sure, there may be books — but for those born today, stores that exist solely to sell them will be as numerous as record stores are now. Many magazines are opting to go strictly online, and we all know the state the newspaper industry is in.
It’s so strange to contemplate how different life will be for our little ones. What with Facebook and social networking, will they ever lose touch with friends? Will our daughters ever receive romantic letters from lovesick boys? Will they be able to lose themselves in a magazine or a classic book? Will the internet get smart, take over the world and blow us all up, Terminator-style?
What do you think? What am I missing?