Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Feeling Ancient

The other day I watched one of those BuzzFeed posts about teens who were born in the late 90s reacting to flip phones, like the Razr. 

It made me feel ancient.

And to think that back then I believed I was on the cutting edge with my stylish hot pink Razr cell phone.

Just goes to show you that even if you are “cutting edge” today, you will one day be considered a relic.  And with the technological advances these days, it doesn’t take all that long either.

These kids couldn’t believe that people didn’t have access to the Internet from their cell phone back in the “Dark Ages,” also known as the 2000s (The oh-oh’s? The noughties? The double-oh’s?). Whatever we called the last decade, we surely didn’t understand how painfully old-fashioned our cool little flip phones really were.

These kids also had a hard time grasping the fact that on many of those flip phones you couldn’t take selfies. Or that there were some flip phones that didn't even have a screen. They weren’t sure how to work a phone without a screen.

But the worst part of flip phones? Texting. It was an absolute nightmare! You had to use the keypad and punch the “7” four times to type in the letter “s,” for instance.

Ah, such silly people we were who lived through the 00s with flip phones. We couldn’t imagine that someday our iPhones and Galaxies would be glued to our hands keeping us entertained every second of the day by allowing us to access every social media forum imaginable. Not to mention the gaming possibilities. And the texting possibilities. And the photo opportunities. 

We were goofy because we generally used them to, I don’t know, talk to folks. Texting was used sparingly, if at all. And we certainly didn’t have conversations via text.  We figured that’s what the phone part was for.

So it wasn't as easy or as convenient as it is today.  But neither did we have “Text Thumb Syndrome” or laws telling us it wasn’t safe to text and drive. Before we got the first word typed in, we’d have crashed into a stop sign – so we knew well enough not to try.

The kids were impressed that those old flip phones seemed to be indestructible. Cases were not generally necessary as there was no big glass screen that could crack and render the phone useless.  Hey, score one for us ancient cell phone users.

And the other thing the kids liked about the flip phone was the ability to snap it closed.  They felt the same buzz us old-timers used to feel when we ended a call and snapped it shut.  Or, if we were angry with someone and we wanted them to know it – we got a certain satisfaction when we snapped our phone closed.

Of course, the flip phone was nothing compared to the old-fashioned landline phones we used to have.  There was something definitive about hanging up on a telemarketer by banging the handset back into the cradle. 

We used to know how to “hang up” a phone.  Kids today are not even sure why we say that. 

So, yeah, I sometimes feel ancient. And I worry that I’m going to have to ask the “youngsters” someday soon how to do things like access my contact list or dial a number.  Of course, they might not know.  They might look at me quizzically as if to say, “Why don’t you just send a text, old-timer?” 

If we’re even sending texts in the near future.  Who knows? We might be sending telepathic messages, provided we’re on the same bandwidth as the person with whom we want to telepathically communicate. 

Ack.  I'll bet that set-up will be a nightmare for those of us whose cutting edge days are long gone.

Let’s hope that there’s still a “help desk” – or at least an understanding third-grader – willing to give us some assistance.  

We’re gonna need it.

And, just to stay sane, I think I’m going to stop watching BuzzFeed. Well, at least whenever they feature kids who are supposed to react to something us hopelessly old-fashioned, out-of-touch, old-timers used to think was cutting edge.

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