So, with Bill and I being in isolation because we have COVID, we’ve been watching a lot of true crime (very uplifting when you’re sick 🙄) and just finished ‘The Night Stalker’ (Richard Ramirez) on Netflix. As fascinating as it was regarding the investigation of this serial killer and how horrible we felt for all those he victimized, here’s what really got us: how old the film clips, tv’s, clothes, cars, etc. looked. When we started watching this, we both would have sworn that the time period being shown was the 60’s, but alas, we would have been wrong. It was the 80’s.
Heh? The 80’s look OLD to us? Archaic? It was the 80’s…our era, baby! Just a few years ago…right? Well…no. I remember when I was growing up and grandma and grandpa would talk about the 40’s and 50’s and to me, it seemed like a life-time ago (and it was…literally…duh…🙄). Now that we’re in 2021 (the year in which I thought everything pertaining to the Jetson’s would be happening), the 80’s was a life-time ago; after all, my sonshine was born in 1993 and he’s 27. Damn!
So after the show ended, Bill and I started to play the ‘Did you ever imagine…’ game, and we realized how much the world has changed in the decades that followed the cool one we were teenagers in (OK, I was never cool…nerdy/homely would be a better descriptor for me 🤓). Here are some examples:
- Didya ever think that we’d hold a phone in our hands…without cords…that had a MUCH bigger computer capacity than the combination of every single computer we ever used in high school had?
- Didya ever think that you could ‘send’ a message to someone instantaneously?
- Didya ever think the world would be connected and we could access that knowledge every single day without leaving home?
- Didya ever think ‘books’ would be read electronically?
- Didya ever think you’d be able to take a better pic through a PHONE than you did using the most expensive camera out there when you were a kid?
- Didya ever think we’d have electric cars?
- Didya ever think there would be a more graphically ‘real’ game than Pac-Man?
- Didya ever think there would be something to ‘hold’ your music that was more compact than a Sony Walkman that used cassettes?
- Didya ever think you wouldn’t be using VHS tapes someday?
And the list goes on and on.
Take cameras: my son is a professional photographer and he is a hybrid shooter in that he uses film and digital cameras. The first time he started shooting in film, he was so excited! You would have thought he discovered an ancient civilization that hadn’t been seen for eons. For the first few months, he would show me every single pic he took on film and he was just gob-smacked by how they looked…they were so ‘vintage’! And, every time he did this, I’d be giggling inside: “Sweetie…what the hell do you think ALL of your baby and childhood pics were taken with?? ”
And the computer stuff really does boggle my mind. I remember sitting in Mr. B’s computer classes in high school and trying to wrap my head around ‘Basic Programming’. In only 1 semester, I learned how to program a computer to scroll my name on the green and black screen! It was quite an accomplishment. Really. If you would have told me that computers would be the size of your palm someday…AND…we would carry them around in our pockets and be obsessed with them…I would have said you might be a tad delusional.
When hubby 2 and I got our first ‘real’ desktop computer, we were a bit afraid of it, and after getting an AOL disc to use in it, we were petrified. The disc said we had like a zillion hours of ‘internet’ time and we couldn’t understand what the hell the internet was and why the hell we’d want ‘on it.’ We popped the disc in after O was in bed for the night…that way, if something horrible happened, he wouldn’t be a witness to it. A funny, screechy, dial-y sound (much like how my voice is described 😐 ) started and we thought the computer was blowing up. After about 5 minutes (SO FAST!), we were ‘online’ and had no idea what to do. Hubby started clicking around on things on the AOL homepage but we closed it out because there was nothing that interested us. Here’s what we said (word for word): “The internet is stupid…I’m never using it.” 🤨 I guess we were sorta wrong on that one.
And movies? Good lord…I remember traipsing to the local ‘video store’ and checking out a VCR and a movie…this would cost about $40! BUT, since VCR’s were around $600-700 in the mid-80’s, this was a steal! My boyfriend and I’d lug this badboy home in the ‘suitcase’ it came in and then spend a grueling hour trying to figure out the fucking wires that needed to be connected while ma was shouting down the stairs: “Don’t mess up the damn TV!” After saying some not-so-nice things to each other during this fiasco, we’d finally get it hooked up, watch the movie (in our house…oooooo…😲) and then unhook it the next day to get it back before we got hit with astronomical fines. Tech at it’s best!
For my son, using Netflix and Hulu is nothing…he’s been doing it since he was a teen. He doesn’t remember a time when movies weren’t at our fingertips! I do though…and I’m still amazed that you can watch about anything you feel like with a few clicks. And I LOVE how you can stop watching something after a few minutes and go on to something else. When I would ‘rent’ VHS tapes, I’d watch the movie even if I hated it…I didn’t want to waste money by not watching it. BTW, I just got my first talking remote for my cable and using it amazes me…I don’t even have to change channels myself anymore!
And social media? I never dreamed…in a million years…that you’d be able to connect with anyone and everyone in the WHOLE world you wanted to with the ‘click of a mouse’. Further, who could ever have seen the effects of doing so? I’ve been off Facebook now for a few weeks and really don’t miss it at all…except for seeing what my sweetie students are up too. I certainly don’t miss the gossip, political fighting, high-school type antics among adults, etc. In fact, my stress level has decreased knowing I can just enjoy something without worrying about having to post it. It’s freeing! 😛 Plus, I just finished a quilt, have kicked ass on getting my classes set up, and am running 4-5 miles a day! Know what? That’s better than clicking on a thumb for hours at a time!
Anyhoot, how weird to think the era I grew up in was as many years ago as when my gramma would talk about the depression. It’s funny how time goes by so fast, but then you sort of get stuck in a time and it stays the same in your mind as if it were just a few days past. Sometimes I miss those good ole days when kids were out riding their bikes all over the city, and were playing tag at night under the street lights, and playgrounds were full and waiting for a swing was your biggest worry at the time. I feel like people were more connected back then…regardless of the social media and technology we have today. We called each other and yapped for hours on the phone. We had slumber parties and would stay up all night telling naughty stories and freezing each other’s bras. If you wanted to date someone, you had to ask them face-to-face…no swiping…and then you’d actually talk and do things together with no phones interrupting your time. You also didn’t have the pressure of ‘having’ to take photos to post to prove to others you were having fun with so and so. You didn’t have to worry about documenting everything…you just lived it and made the memories in your head where they aren’t judged. People felt better about themselves because you weren’t comparing yourself to others on social media and feeling less than because of everyone’s ‘perfect’ pics. If you had an issue with someone, you actually had to talk to them…not see it splattered across an open platform that everyone reads and can judge you by.
As much as it ages me, it’s like it was a more ‘innocent’ time…more laid back…more linked…united. I didn’t take pics of my son 100x every single day…film and developing were expensive! But when I did take pics, they were special and showed a time in his life that I really wanted to capture; then I’d mail copies to the grandparents for them to stick on the fridge. I didn’t force him to pose or stop playing with him to get yet another pic to post because it wasn’t about the pic…it was about us simply being together.
My life was my life…it wasn’t a life that was open for others to criticize publicly. If I wanted to learn about something, I got actual books and read them and studied them and learned from them. I didn’t passively ask Alexa for an answer…I found the answer myself.
So yes, I’m old. Yes, I’m feeling nostalgic about the 80’s. And yes…even though it was far from perfect, there is so much I miss about it. I guess I’m finally one of those people who yearn for the ‘good ole days’…and in fact, I think a lot of us actually do.