Bluffton Today column, March 30, 2007
I stood with my head tilted back, my neck atrophying from the awkward angle as if watching the big screen from the front row. There was little room to step back to better my view with the crowd as large as it was. And as I strained to peruse my options, I panicked. I was not familiar with the lingo and with buzz words flying about I worried that I was not up to the task. With my proverbial tail between my legs I sheepishly asked the women behind the counter, “is a frapaccino the frozen kind?” “Yes,” she replied haughtily and with a look of disgust in her eyes.
And then it struck me. I am getting old.
I am of Generation X.
I grew up with a cassette player, a cabbage patch kid, and an Andre Agassi poster (with the long hair) on my closet door.
I applied for college the old fashioned way – with a handwritten application and essay. I didn’t use a computer fluently until I got to college and I didn’t email until I was in my twenties.
I bought my first cell phone in 1997, it cost me $30 a month and for that I got about 60 minutes of talk time. Oh, and did I mention it was the size of a paperback novel?
But now I am living in a world where coffee drinking is a cult activity. Where the company you work for can track your every movement with the GPS system on the company phone that they so graciously offered you. Where ten year olds have cell phones, home pages, and buddy lists and don’t have to watch commercials because they got TIVO for their ninth birthday.
The Starbucks Generation will never sit down with a photo album on their knees, flipping through the pages of their lives. Instead, they will simply send their grandkids a link to their blog. And that makes me a little sad, but I too am a victim.
A photo collage dons the wall in my master bedroom – a small collection of pictures from vacations Joe and I took to Jamaica and the Bahamas, pictures from my sister’s and my cousin’s weddings, my niece’s christening, and some other family events. But, those are the only real pictures I have to commemorate the last seven years of my life. The rest exist on CDs jammed into my desk drawer, or as saved images in random folders on my hard drive or better yet in online photo galleries somewhere in cyber space.
The times they are a changing.
I remember the family photo albums that stocked the shelves when growing up. I can still picture the pages vividly and I know from memory which album commemorates which events.
A few months ago when I started a bike safety project with my Leadership class I called my mom and asked her to find the picture of me at a bike rodeo when I was six. She found it and the picture was just as I remembered it.
Last week as I watched my niece, Erin, take her first tentative steps I thought, wow she looks just like her mom. And, so I paged through a photo album of my sister’s childhood and found that picture that I knew was there of her in a white dress, with little pink flowers with a face that mirrors that of her daughter’s.
And that makes me wonder how in the age of technology and all things digital - where will my past go?
March Writing Assignment
12 years ago