Isn’t it scary how fast our lives are going? I mean think about it, there are people legally drinking in pubs now that weren’t even born when Riverdance happened. Never mind the Berlin wall going, they weren’t even alive when Monica Lewinsky went down. My friends call me the oldest living 33 year-old on the planet because I go on like I’m 93…but that’s only because I’m so disillusioned with how quickly things are changing.
It seems like only yesterday that I was having a mild panic attack because the I forgot to rewind the video tape before recording Die Hard off the telly and the tape was going to run out half way through. “Is there another blank tape around here?” I’d shout, in a panic. “I’m going to have to tape one half on one tape and the other half on another.” “I dunno” my father would reply. “Just don’t tape it on my tape.” People said tape a lot in the 90s. And why wouldn’t they? We were using video tapes…cassette tapes…cello tape to keep the batteries from falling out of the back of the remote…it was a world held together by tape.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the progress…I mean I’m a gadget man and it won’t be long before there’ll be a Wi-Fi toaster and kettle in my house (they actually exist). I’m just getting a bit dizzy by how fast it’s all happening. Yes I love the luxury of being able to contact someone in a split second, whether it’s with a text, a photo or a video. I can’t help but feel regretful that technology wasn’t fast enough to spice up my first relationship (a long distance one) when I was 16. We wrote over 160 letters to each other and as for sexting…well it becomes a little awkward when you have to involve a third party in the one-hour photo lab.
There are instant messengers everywhere you go now, so the thrill of ringing your girlfriend’s house and praying that her father doesn’t answer is now non-existent. People have also stopped calling to each other’s houses. A knock on a door now is almost as alien as a house phone ringing. If there’s a knock on the door now it’s usually met with a cry of “who could that be?!” People don’t need to call to you anymore, they just text and tell you to meet them in the pub.
In one way it’s great that we can access things so quickly and so easily but the thrill of the hunt will surely be missed. For example, I remember hearing a song on the radio once and instantly falling in love with it. It took me a week to finally get the name of it and that was after singing it to half a dozen people. “You know the one…it goes dana dana dana dana boom boom dana dana.” In hindsight, it’s a miracle that I ever found out the name of it. But that was only part of the journey, I then had to go into a music shop and buy it, or maybe even order it. There was a fine sense of accomplishment when I finally got to own it though. Hearing it and downloading it 20 seconds later is great and all but I don’t think it gives you the same level of appreciation for the song.
And what about going into Strand Electric when a new film was released and hanging around for a while because one of the copies was “due back in”? Will we ever again experience the pleasure of walking down the video shop with our heads tilted, looking at all the films that we might rent that night? Saturday night, your friend is sleeping over, you go to the shop for goodies and your father brings you to Strand “Don’t be long in there” he’d say “just pick one and come out as fast as you can”. It’s all about scrolling these days I’m afraid.
As the years go by and we’re all swept into the arms of technology it makes you wonder how different retirement homes will be in the future. At the moment they can be upsetting places to be. Despite the efforts of staff to provide as much entertainment as possible you will still see elderly men and women just staring out of a window, wishing their remaining years away. I don’t think I’ll be doing that, in fact, I know I won’t. Sure I’ll be on my iPadX texting the hot new GILF that has just been admitted. There’ll be no bingo, that’s for sure. We’ll be doing cool Wi-Fi things while our grandchildren laugh at us for still playing with an Xbox. “That’s all we had in those days” we’d tell them. “That and iPads, Playstations and Wi-Fi Toasters.”