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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Sit Up and Spit

A little over a year ago Dental was added to my Health Insurance; apparently it was just snuck it in there because I didn’t know about it until last month. I suppose if I actually read the yearly manuals I might have known sooner.

So it came to be, yesterday, after a hiatus of three years, I paid a visit to my dentist. According to her, my gums bleed too much and I need to floss. Twice a day.

Can I be real honest? I hate brushing my teeth. Don’t get me wrong, I hate my stinky, nasty morning mouth more, so I brush first thing every day. But I don’t have to like it. Word on the street is, you’re supposed to brush twice a day. At least. And floss. Twice! ai yi yi…

More brutal honesty: The only way I brush more than once a day is if I have a date.

With a real live man. Period. I’ll even Listerine for that.

sigh.

rang highBack to the Dentist. As I lounged in the chair with the suction tube hanging out of the corner of my mouth, I reminisced about the good old days at the dentist. Back when the dentist was literally on the corner of the next block over and I walked myself there with a signed check from my parents in my hand. This was way back, before People and US or iPhones. In those days I read Highlights and Ranger Rick in the waiting room, which doubled as the basement of the Dentist’s family home.

In those days there was no spit sucker hanging out of your mouth, you had to sit up and spit after each section of your mouth was scraped and polished.

dentistSit up. Spit into a tiny porcelain sink. (That white mini-faucet just ran and ran and ran…) Drink from your little paper cup and rinse out every last bit of that gritty pink paste.

I miss the sit up and spit. I liked seeing what the dentist was digging out of there.

 

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My Children Think the School Nurse is a Free Clinic

My children think the school nurse is a free clinic.

This is a fact.

school nurse

When I was a kid the school nurse came to our school once a week. And, for example, if you were in second grade and started to feel sick so you asked permission to go to the lavatory but you didn’t quite make it and instead, vomited the entire way from your classroom, through the hallway, down the steps and into the girls’ bathroom (I deny this ever happened to me), you got to a trip to The Janitor.

This is also a fact: When I was a kid I saw the school nurse once a year. She checked my head for lice and my spine for scoliosis. Other than that, we got a visit to The Janitor.

These days:

Get hit in the head by a basketball during recess – receive a call from the school nurse.

Sneeze and get snot all over your pants – receive a call from the school nurse.

Trip over a chair and fall on your face in front of your entire classroom – receive a call from the school nurse.

She has me on speed dial.