The other day my daughter was nagging me for something I had previously said no to, oh I don’t know, let’s say A THOUSAND TIMES BEFORE, when I turned to her and snapped “For heaven’s sake child, you are a broken record!” This is where she paused and cocked her head to the side and very calmly said, “What’s a record?” And I couldn’t help but laugh. After all, she was born in 2004, long after the demise of vinyl. Why would she know what a record was?
It reminded me of a trip we took several years ago to Cape Breton for a family reunion. While staying at a cottage we asked Alex to call his mom and let her know that we had arrived safely. A few minutes later we found him standing at the phone with the receiver in his hand and a blank look on his face. It was a rotary phone and he had no idea how to use it. He was pressing his finger into each hole trying to press it as hard as he could. In one of those fine parenting moments we cracked up laughing at him. Hard laughter. Thankfully, he’s grown into a young man with a sense of humour, with no permanent damage from our teasing. It could have gone so, so wrong.
Today, after filling my 2011 census out online, I started to think about all the things in my life that have become obsolete. Like, paper based census forms for example. I still occasionally refer to my iPod as a Walkman and Costco is still The Price Club to me. Walmart will forever be Woolco. So what else have I seen move to extinction in my 41 years? How about Beta, VHS, VCR’s, pagers, floppy disks, and cassette tapes. What about getting up to change the channel? What a joke that was. Actually, having to get up and physically walk to the TV to change the channel and then stand there as you scrolled through all 10 channels to find something good on. Crazy, I tell you, crazy. I took a typewriting class in high school. Typewriting. Insert paper, roll paper, make sure ink was lined up, tick, tick, tick, ka-ching, push the thingy at the top over and start the next line. This was preparing me for a future.....without TYPEWRITERS!!!!
Does anybody remember 8 track tapes? I remember my Dad having a load of those in his 1973 Cutlass Supreme....the tank. People complain about gas guzzlers today! I also remember he had a CB radio in this car, around about the time Smokey and the Bandit was all the rage. We sang Christmas carols in traffic on it. Good times, good times. I also recall driving in a car with no seatbelt, not having to wear a helmet biking and coming in when the street lights came on. Some change is good, some not so good. I also remember carrying my music around by a handle with my funky boombox, playing mixed tapes I recorded off the radio. Seriously? Can you believe we can now get all our music on something as small as a iPod Shuffle?
Imagine the space these took up in your home?
The passing of film is a double edged sword. Remember that you only had 24 or 32 pictures to take, and you couldn't preview them? The flip side of this of course is that now you can take thousands of pictures and then not know which ones to develop. The choice is so overwhelming that printing photos has become a chore rather than something fun you dropped off at the mall and hoped for the best an hour later.
What will my daughters see go obsolete in their lifetimes? I’m thinking cash might be a goner. With everything paid for by debit or credit, I think purses might be a lot lighter in the future as toonies and loonies go join the do-do bird. It’s also fairly certain that public phones won’t exist either. If I was a watch manufacturer, I might start looking at other opportunities. Who wears a watch anymore? For sure, DVD’s will become a thing of the past as services like Netflix save you from ever having to leave your house.
I pray that the phone book hits the obsolete pile sooner rather than later. It is such a tremendous waste of resources to print that big book off that I’m guessing 90% of the people immediately toss it in the recycle bin anyway. I was stunned when one showed up on my doorstep this year. If I want to find something or someone I hit Google. You? I also think mail will become obsolete. Again, tremendous amount of resources to make the paper, print, and then deliver and pick up that I can’t imagine it being sustainable in the long run.
Finally, I hope normal films don’t die out. It seems like every other movie that comes out anymore is 3D and I know many, many people love it but frankly, it gives me a headache. Silently praying this is only a fad.
Do you silently miss something that has gone obsolete? Is there something you couldn’t wait to say good riddance to? What do you think your children’s children will have no idea existed?
I have to admit that leading up to the Royal Wedding I really wasn’t that into it. Not that I was opposed to it, but rather I was ambivalent, neither here nor there about the whole thing. Obviously, you’d have to have been in some strange isolation experiment not to have seen and heard all the hype leading up to Friday’s event. I have a great filter though and quickly discard the stuff I don’t want to see. So while some were moaning about the endless coverage, I didn’t find it that bad. Then on Thursday, Sarah from Wall Candy started encouraging a group of ladies to change their avatar on Twitter and Facebook to their wedding photo and Bob’s your uncle, I found myself caught in the wave of excitement.
I was giddy as I scanned my proofs from my wedding into Facebook, which 10 years later I have still not had developed. I grinned from ear to ear, as I watched my Twitter and Facebook feeds fill up with beautiful brides. I felt like a broken record, saying “Gorgeous”, “Beautiful”, “You’re a model”, over and over again, but it was true! Every single time I saw another bride in my stream I could not help but gush. The expression, “Every bride is beautiful” may be trite, but it is also the truth.
Never to be mistaken for an early bird, I simply could not pull myself out of bed to watch the wedding live though. As soon as I got the girls out the door for school, I rushed to my office to watch live. I gasped out loud when I saw Princess Kate, she was truly stunning. I always thought she was a pretty girl but she simply glowed on Friday. Watching the beauty of it all I felt a sudden pang of guilt. I had not included my girls in this. There had been no hype here and if they hadn’t heard it at school, I wasn’t even sure if they knew a royal wedding was happening.
Their life has been filled with “princesses” that don’t exist from the time they were born. For them to miss seeing a true princess marry her prince seemed a little sad. It’s not everyday we bear witness to such an event. In fact it had been thirty years since the last royal wedding of this magnitude and it truly was something to behold. The pageantry, the splendour, the pomp and circumstance and the wonderfully outrageous hats. Things that are very foreign to us here in Canada. Thankfully, I wasn't too late with this realization.
When the girls got home from school we talked about the royal wedding. We looked at pictures on the internet and I reminisced with them about what I knew of the royal family growing up. I told them about Princess Diana and the big wedding to Prince Charles. How they had two little boys, one of whom got married that day. I pulled out my Royal Doulton china doll of HRH Prince William as a toddler that has been packed away so long, I scarcely remembered owning it. I shared about the day that Diana died and how one of my best friends and I openly wept, surprised at our own heartache. Hardly a diehard fan of the monarchy, I was genuinely caught off guard by how deeply her death touched me. I got a little teary when I explained that she would be very proud of her son today. As a mother, can you imagine not seeing your child getting married? Although they are royalty, their stories are very human. Marriage, children, death. These things bind us all.
A little later in the evening we made some popcorn and went and watched it on TV. We laughed at some of the outrageous outfits. We talked about visiting London someday and seeing Buckingham Palace and Westminister Abbey. We talked about how they would help carry each other’s dress when they got married. It was assumed that the oldest would marry first and I chuckled because in their world that is how it must work out, but I know differently and kept that to myself for now. My oldest loved Princess Kate’s dress and would like one “just like it”. My youngest is clearing wall real estate for Prince Harry, as he is now taking Bieber’s place. Sorry Justin, six year olds are fickle.
I heard many detractors say “enough already” or “there are more important things than a royal wedding”, “People are suffering”. Sadly, that is all too true. But you know what? People are weary. We are hammered daily with messages of grief, hatred and tragedy. The bad news just keeps on coming. It will be there tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. So for one day, many of us got swept up in a fairy tale and I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.
We all love happy endings.
*Photo credit: Maria Lianos A Motherworld"