What’s the rush?

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Day dreaming is one of my favourite hobbies (when I have the time, which is rare these days!) but just recently I found myself imagining another dimension where people still live the way we did in the 80s and early 90s. Just consider if those people suddenly found themselves in the world as we know it now, with all our modern cons and technology. What would they make of it?

First of all I expect they would probably wake up on a Monday morning to the buzzing or pinging of a smart phone and wonder what on earth it was. Upon being told that it is a portable telephone which they can use, among other things, to ‘surf the web’ and ‘keep up with Twitter’, they would probably think they were still asleep and dreaming. Surf the web? Keep up with Twitter? It would have sounded like a different language to us nearly 30 odd (30?? gulp!) years ago! Imagine their faces then at being told that you can not only call people with this portable gadget but you can also take very good quality photos, video special moments, store all your favourite music, send messages to people all over the world, pay for your car insurance, book your holidays, watch films etc. etc.

You just need to consider Back to the Future II’s vision of the future to see that we had very different ideas of technological advancement back then…we thought we would still be using fax machines now for one thing. (And I have to say that I am not really surprised that the dehydrated pizza idea never took off, though I am still quite taken with the idea of proper hoverboards).

Anyway, after coming to terms with smart phones, our friends from the past might be introduced to Facebook and question why people are posting things on there like photos of their dinner or information about their sleeping habits. On boarding a train or a bus they might be bemused to find that nobody looks up since they are all glued to the screen of their phones and, upon entering the office, they might have a colleague inform them of the question they just sent by email and wonder why this colleague didn’t just speak to them about it since they sit at the very next desk!

All these thoughts made me realise not only how much we rush but also how little we savour these days, compared to back then. It’s all now, now, now, in today’s world. We are reachable everywhere 24/7 due to mobiles and when people send texts or emails, they expect immediate answers (never mind what you happen to be doing or where you are at the time!). But, if like me you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you will probably remember:

  • calling your best friend on their landline and really hoping they would be in (and if they were, having a chat with their mum or dad first)
  • excitedly waiting to collect your developed holiday photos (despite the fact that half of them would either be missing heads or would have come out blurry)
  • making sure you were always on time to meet up with friends (since there was no way of letting them know you were running late)
  • delightedly discovering that your local video store had a copy of the film you wanted to watch (no downloading movies at the touch of a finger back then)
  • waiting with anticipation for your favourite group to release their latest album and then making a special trip into town to buy it (iTunes???)
  • only having 4 channels on TV but still managing to find something to watch (while now, with Netflix, there is never anything good on)
  • everyone staying in on Saturday afternoons to watch their favourite TV shows…and then discussing them at school on Monday (no catch-up TV!)
  • having to invent games and things to do on Sundays, since nothing was open (I remember how full of food our house was over the Christmas period when shops shut for days!)
  • …actually talking to people when you sat down to drink a coffee or eat a meal with them! (no comment!)

There is no doubt that technology has brought us lots of great things but a part of me is sad that our children will never know the less frantic world that some of us were privileged to grow up in. I guess all we can do is try to replicate some of it in their childhoods so they get to understand the joy of the simple things and the pleasure that comes with actually having to wait sometimes too!

 

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