One Sunday morning, a couple weeks ago, we ventured out early to our favorite breakfast destination. We had gotten there after the first morning rush so it was quiet. Things had settled down and I was enjoying the solace of being unplugged. My cell phone was in the car, my laptops were at home, my bluetooth was not glued to my ear and everything else that beeped, rang or vibrated was far away. I don’t do it often, however, breakfast out is one of those do-not-disturb-me moments.
We ordered our food and engaged in a little idle chatter. Our conversation was interrupted by the occupants of a nearby booth. There were two adults and two kids. I’ll create the scenerio that the kids were brother and sister and the adults that were sitting with them were the parents. The little boy, maybe 9 years old, was in the beginning stages of a tantrum. The iPad he was entertaining himself with was running slow and this clearly frustrated him. His sister paid no attention to him. She was too busy tapping away on her iPhone.
Eventually things escalated and the boy exclaimed quite loudly that he “hated that thing” and it “was a piece of crap because it was too slow.” Too slow? Really? I wanted to take a seat beside this little boy and enlighten his high tech infested brain what slow really was.
Back in the day, if something needed to be typed, this is what was used. It was also what I learned to type on when I took 2 years of typing class. Typing an entire term paper was not fun. Although we could correct letters, if we messed up a few sentences or wanted to add a sentence, we had to start over with a fresh piece of paper. Once the paper was typed and taken out of the paper roll, we kept our fingers crossed that there were no errors. Having to put the paper back in to make a correction took a great deal of skill.
Let me introduce you to my first video game console…the Intellivision. Very. Slow. The graphics in the first video game we owned consisted of two 1 inch lines and a small square. There was a line that moved up and down on each side of the screen. The object of the game was to bounce the tiny square back and forth. This game was titled ‘Tennis.’
During school hours, if we had something extremely important that we needed to relay to our friend, who was sitting a few rows ahead of us, we had to write it on paper. Text messaging didn’t exist. We wrote our message on a piece of paper, folded it up so it resembled some sort of chaotic origami, put the recipients name on the front and hoped the teacher wouldn’t catch us passing the note as we strategically got it from point A to point B.
Calling your parents to let them know you were going to be running late was no easy task. There wasn’t a cell phone to pull out of our backpacks. We had to stop what we were doing, make sure we had a dime in hand and locate a pay phone. We kept our fingers crossed that someone was home. Most households back then didn’t have an answering machine and voicemail was unheard of. If no one was home, we had to repeat this process of calling until we reached someone.
For a while, portable music meant hoisting a boom-box on your shoulder and carrying it around. When the Walkman came out, it was huge! No more bulky boom-boxes! For these contraptions, all you needed was a fresh set of batteries, a pair of headphones and your favorite cassette tape. If there was a particular song you wanted to listen to, you had to fast forward to it. We held our breath in hopes that the ribbon in the cassette tape didn’t twist or get tangled up. Too much fast forwarding or rewinding did this. It didn’t take long for the cassette to become warped.
Let me also introduce you to my first stereo system. I had 2 record players growing up. You simply popped on a record, lay the needle down gently on the record and your favorite songs would fill the air. Plan on staying close by though if you wanted to skip songs. This required picking up the arm and placing the needle on the right area of the record. If the urge to shake your groove thing arose, it was subsided by the knowledge that bouncing around could cause disruption in your music.
Within a short period of time this little boy escalated into a full fledged tantrum over the slow WiFi connection. I could tell his parents were slightly embarrassed by this display. I gave them an understanding smile. These days, most kids are wrapped in their high tech world. It has taken the place of having a decent conversation while eating breakfast. It amuses me as well to know that what I considered high tech back then is now considered vintage. I watched the little boy for a few minutes knowing that in 25 years his iPad would be in the category of vintage as well. And maybe, one day he’ll take his kid out for breakfast and have to listen to a tantrum of the same magnitude over some futuristic tech invention that isn’t working up to par.