I know very little about ancient cultures. I could maybe bluff my way through this blog by talking about pyramids and papyruses and the Rosetta stone, but I decided to skip all that. Instead, I’m going to complain about how technology that is only a few years old is already viewed as ancient, especially by the younger set.
In my lifetime, I’ve played records, 8-tracks, cassette tapes, CDs, and digital music. My kids own two or three CDs thanks to their dad, but the only reason they know what a cassette tape looks like is because I bought a CRV in one of the last years that Honda included both a tape and CD player in the car (which should tell you how old my car is). I have only one cassette tape left, a Christmas cow collection, where cows moo through a variety of songs. I pull it out once a year around the holidays to entertain the kids on the way to and from school.
Another thing that’s changed is the movie-going experience. When I was a kid, going to the theater was a huge deal. I was only allowed to see a few movies that my mom approved of, and I would wait weeks for that Friday night premiere to finally arrive. Then, for the movies I absolutely adored, I’d wait another nine months or more for them to be released on video cassette (another technology that is completely obsolete) so I could go down to Blockbuster and see if they had a copy available. Now, some studios release movies at the theater and through instant streaming on the same day. Viewers can literally see a movie at the theater and then go home and watch it again. Or, more likely, people can simply stay home and skip the theater experience altogether. Going to the movies simply isn’t the adventure it once was. Especially when there’s no pay phone in the lobby where you can call your mom for a ride when it’s over.
Most kids will never see a camera that uses real film or have any idea how to get that film processed. The only reason my kids know what a rotary phone looks like is because their grandparents still have one mounted on their kitchen wall. Long gone are the days when an entire bookcase shelf was filled with encyclopedic volumes or you had to bicycle to the library to research a topic. Now the kids ask me a question, and I say, “Hang on, I’ll google that.” No more waiting for your mom or dad to get off the phone so you can call your best friend and talk for hours about the school day you two already spent together. Everyone has their own phone, and no one uses it to talk anyway. It’s all about texting and Snapchatting. And now, my two sons are quite excited about one day owning a driverless car, something I scoffed at several years ago but which is now looming on the horizon.
While I marvel at how quickly technology changes, my kids have come to expect it. And while I mumble and grumble about how I almost can’t figure out how to turn on the TV anymore, they just go with the flow. That’s a good thing. If they’re not intimidated by the technology, it means that the sky is the limit on where it can take them. Even if the car will be the one driving them there.