In Days Before

I was talking to an African woman while in line at the Indian supermarket the other day (true story). I’m not sure what started it, but we began wondering how stymied people would be these days if their smart phones were suddenly unavailable or unusable.

I am writing this post on the day before my 41st birthday. Not so old. Not so young. Born in 1973 I have been witness to life with TV (only 5 channels that you had to actually get up and turn the nob to change) and life with Netflix. I remember a time before cellphones and I was at least 30 before I had my very own. I even remember life before push button phones. od rotaryDial a number, wait (chug chug chug as it came back around) dial another number… There was no speed dial – no Yelping a restaurant or Googling a hairdresser and then just touching the number on the screen to have it dial for you. You took your finger, put it in the hole and pulled that dial around and around and around.  Seven times for local.

I was born after humans landed on the moon, during the Vietnam War and before Germany was once again, just – Germany. Not so old and not so young. I’ve seen a lot come and I’ve seen some things go. I stood there in line with an armful of Indian snacks listening to this older woman recount the wonder of the first time she saw an airplane in the late 1960s and the first time, as a young woman, she was allowed to speak on a telephone. She shouted because she thought they would hear her better.

I nodded my head like I knew what that was like. I didn’t.

Airplanes were flying over my house long before I was born and I cannot recall a time without a telephone, rotary or not, because to me, they always just were.

od pizzaod bagelI’ve often heard my father say, “Have I ever told you about the first time I ate pizza? They called it ‘Tomato Pie’ and…” It was at a rolling concession stand at a county fair in the early fifties. My Aunt Carol still remembers her first experience eating a real bagel. I’m reminded, for some, there was a time before pizza and bagels.

I have a vivid memory of the exact place I ever tasted (or even heard of) Ranch dip. Yes, Ranch. There actually was a time before Ranch seasoning – and I remember it.

I’m not old, but I feel just old enough to nod my head and murmur in agreement when someone a little older reminisces about the days before. I remember those days, maybe not the exact old days, but I do remember what it was like in days before.

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What astounds you that you remember about days before?

 

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