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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We Sometimes Went Days Without Taking Our Own Picture

We are unable to access the internet.

Acme Grommets and Gravel is beside itself.

The intern with whom I currently share a double-wide cubicle – a newly hired soul three quarters of a way through his Masters – looks at me with something akin to fear in his eyes.

“Does this happen a lot?”

I nod.  “More often than you’d think,” I say.

He frowns, then turns back to his screen.    

I want to console him, of course, but I also want to tweak his soft, wrinkly mind. 

“My first job,” I say, taking on the role of Office Crone, “was data entry.  The computer’s mainframe was housed in the biggest room in the building, probably 20 years before the internet.  I didn’t even have a phone at my desk.”

He turns in his chair, blinks at me.

“I used to go out to my car at lunch time,” I say, “and find notes on my car.”

He takes his hand from the mouse, scratches the back of his head.  “Notes?”

“Boyfriends, friends.  People would stop by, leave invitations to places, addresses, jokes.”

He stares at me.

“Sometimes they would leave pictures of cats doing funny things,” I say.

He brightens.  “Really?”

“No,” I say.

He frowns.  “But what did you do?  I mean, how did you get together with friends without calling?”

Somewhere in the ambient noise of a busy office, I imagine the sound of a crackling fire, my rocker creaking back and forth as I light a corncob pipe.  “That was called ‘cruising’, young man,” I say, “and it was part of the fun.  Would you run into friends?  Would you make new friends?  Who knew?”

“That would be weird,” he says slowly.

“It was weird,” I say.  “We sometimes had to go back to the Dairy Queen a dozen times before we ran into people we knew.”

He blinks at me.  “Dairy Queen?”

I nod sagely.  “Biggest parking lot,” I say.

He turns back to face his screen, clicks the Google Chrome icon dejectedly. “Weird,” he says. 


I stare at the back of his head.  “Yep,” I say.  “It was a weird time to be alive.”

34 comments:

vanilla said...

You imagine lighting your corncob pipe-- and so does your young cohort. However did we make "social contacts" back in the Dark Ages?

Lisa Golden said...

I love you. Were it not for the Dairy Queen, my youth would have been spent instead of misspent. Thank god for the DQ.

Perpetua said...

Wonderful. :-) We didn't have Dairy Queen over here bit somehow we managed to meet people. As a brand-new convert to FB, I can already see how the mind of the younger generation gets sapped of initiative. ;-)

Perpetua said...

PS Pearl, you have the honour to be my first FB share. :-)

Silliyak said...

As the late Hunter S Thompson said "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" Lay THAT on him.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I smelled the pipe and heard the creak of a rocking chair, too!
It WAS Dairy Queen...always, even where I lived.

Suldog said...

Funny stuff. You should see the incredulous looks I get when I tell people I have never owned a cell phone. I might as well have told them I had mastodon for breakfast.

joeh said...

Pure gold, you've even outdone yourself.

"Pictures of cats doing funny things...and he brightens up!"
Best line ever!

jenny_o said...

For us country folk, it was the park, not the DQ. Same thing, but with more trees and fresh air.

joeh is right about the cat line :)

Say What? said...

I love this and I can see how the whole conversation went down. I'm amazed at how different my own children are growing up verses how I did. Technology!

Say What? said...

I love this and I can see how the whole conversation went down. I'm amazed at how different my own children are growing up verses how I did. Technology!

Susan Williams said...

I love the creak of your rocker, and you lighting corncob pipe.

Daisy said...

And, amazingly enough, we lived to talk about it!! :D

Christine said...

The title alone had me smiling, and the smile just got bigger as I went along.

Roshni AaMom said...

My sons too cannot imagine how we survived without the internet!!

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Oh, the Dairy Queen! Yes, yes, yes it was the place to be, too, in New Middletown, Ohio.
*rocker creaks*

Delores said...

Wayllll...removes straw hat, scatches head....Ah kin remembar walkin two miles uphill ..both ways mind you..to a one room school house. We gots ourseln a spankin brand new rotary phone so's we could call kin and friends on what they called a 'party line'. Party lines was sort of like your 'circles' dontchaknow.
I'll bet you blew his soft wrinkly little mind all to bits.

Joanne Noragon said...

My doctor was typing the visit to the computer. She stopped and said something in Italian, and shifted the laptop around.
That's Italian for how I feel when we lose the internet and all I want is to do my job, she explained.

bill lisleman said...

Wow, I remember the regular circuit into town and then back out. Nobody worried much about gas prices, maybe running out of cigarettes. Yeah cruising back when the gas was cheap and the windows were rolled down by hand.
Hey thanks for your post, I think I have the start of one.

BTW on a technical side note - I keep getting a pop-up from "sitemeter" asking for a password on your blog. Ignoring it works but it's annoying, unlike your blog.

Sioux said...

A weird time, but such a fun one...

Delores said...

I'm getting the same message as bill lisleman.....I just delete it and carry on trucking.

jenny_o said...

I'm getting what lisleman is getting but I couldn't describe it - thanks, bill :)

Ray Denzel said...

Bones creaking

Elephant's Child said...

Me too on the pop up front. And me too on enjoying this post. Rather a lot.
And sometimes I go years without taking a photo of myself. A public service.

Gigi said...

We did the same...only it was Jack In The Box for us. Good times.

Something these kids today will never experience.

bill lisleman said...

I gave this great post a linkback. thanks

Linda O'Connell said...

Ah, what memories. Cruising through Steak N Shake was our pastime.

Linda O'Connell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marsha Young said...

Yes,and sometimes we carried our lunch in a brown paper sack. Un-be-lievable!!

Rose L said...

I do not go to any malls anymore.
Too many people, too many stores, and not enough money!

Daisy said...

"party line is like (google) circles"! How true! I confess I don't have a cell phone. Some people just don't know how to react to that situation!

River said...

I'm getting the same sitemeter pop up as the others. It's kind of annoying.
I remember times when photos were taken on birthdays and at Christmas, with photos of new babies in between and that was about it. Everyone dressed up for the occasion when the camera came out.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Oh my goodness this was funny

Val S said...

From one (former) office crone to the other, I can relate. Remember when we didn't even have message machines on phones?!?