I can't put my finger on exactly what prompted this post, all I know is a few minutes ago I was standing outside having a smoke, when it hit me. I am no longer at my grandparent’s house taking care of them and learning the ways of the elders. a few things I took note of during my stay was the fact that while they had a microwave, were it not for me, or the fact that they had purchased "hot pockets", said microwave would never get used. In talking with them, I learned of a simpler time and a people who loved their neighbors. People who sat outside and learned of all the neighbors happenings and whatnot. I enjoyed this as, during the warmer months, we would sit outside and all the neighbors would visit and talk and gossip and do all the things that people like to do.
In talking to my grandfather, who loves to regale me with stories of yesteryear, I realized a couple somethings. My grandparents were born before cars were in wide use. My grandfather was born in 1927, in Detroit, and can still remember having his milk delivered by horse drawn carriage. He can remember the beat cop who used to patrol his neighborhood. He can also tell me the year said cop retired from the force. He would tell me of simple games the kids used to play which more or less involved a bunch of kids on a curb and one kid in the street trying to kick the other kids’ asses, or any variation thereof. He lied about his age to get into the army, but was kicked out due to flat feet, and he then began a long and storied career as a letter carrier. I’m trying to remember the timeline but basically it was the late 40's when he started and he retired in 1986. I remember the write up in the paper about it, I remember the party. I remember how he knew every single person on his route. If that person wasn't at home on the days he delivered paychecks, he would come back later in the day when they were home, so that he could hand them their checks personally. No mix ups. He loved telling me all kinds of these stories. The one that always makes me think is when I asked him when he owned his first television.
Now, my grandparents had been childhood sweethearts, my grandmother from PA, and ol' gramps from straight up D-town. Back when it was a respectable factory town to be from. Not the burned out shell of a violent crimes capitol is. They married early into their twenties, grandma was 21, and grandpa was 22. They had my uncle 2 years later. Funny thing is it wasn't until more or less 1955 that they purchased their first television. And here's where I start thinking.
1955, they get their first television. 1940something my grandfather purchases his first car. Sometime late 80's early 90's they get their first microwave, and in 2004 they got their first dishwasher (which they still don't know how to use). I had convinced them during my tenure there, it would behoove them to get teh intarwebs for me and my laptop to play on, lest I take out my aggression on them. One day my mother came over to visit. She had her digital camera and took some pictures of the grandfolks and whatnot. After going home she loaded them onto this computer and sent them to me on the laptop so I could show my grandparent. This astonished them, as I’m sure the Kodak brownie camera and the Polaroid did before this. But I mean, truly astonished. They couldn't quite grasp that the little gadget my mom had been wielding not moments before had now enabled me to share geriatric photos with the world mere moments later.
Now, never mind the fact that most anyone reading this blog can remember being aghast at what happened to shrinkydinks after you colored them and set them in the oven. Nor can we forget about those crazy little pills that you dropped into water and hours later it was a 6inch tall rubbery T-rex. Of course, nothing can truly beat the fun that is colorforms. But really, for most of our adult lives, and a good portion of our adolescent lives (some of us, myself included) computers were a large factor. I can remember the old BBS's where you had to know people who knew people to gain admission into these things. When the internet was something you accessed through an FTP port on a local multi channel BBS. Back when being a l337 haxxor meant having a really good knowledge of DOS and its backdoors. When typing /dir *. /p /s meant something. Lol. Back when ROFL was LOL.
Anyhow, I guess what I’m saying is: what is it going to take to amaze us when we're old as shit and can't walk? I guess the first thing that would amaze me would be if there was social security to collect... but that's beside the point. I mean really. Are there any scenarios you can think of off the top of your head that would truly "amaze" you? I can't think of anything. Teleportation, I kind of expect it. Vehicles without wheels, mere decades away. More efficient fuel sources, well, those have been around for a while, we just have to see if they catch on. But I mean really. I showed my grandmother a digital picture of her taken minutes before. I could have done the same with a camera phone and really knocked her diaper off. All this to someone who, when growing up had her clothes made for her by her mother because there weren't any stores in town to buy everyday clothes from. Where will we be in another 40 years? Think back on the last 15. Then try, to think ahead to the next 40. I can't. Can you?