Saturday, October 30, 2010

Progress? Maybe not.

Alright, I understand that we're living in a pretty good time, technologically speaking. Cell phones do pretty much everything except hug you when you're sad (I would totally use that app) and you can connect to the internet on airplanes now.

Whatever. (And as far as I'm concerned, technology is basically at a stand-still until I have my hoverboard.) From where I'm sitting, all this "progress" is giving our youth a grossly unfair advantage in life--for two big reasons.

1. School pictures. This week we had picture day at school. You all remember picture day, don't you? Big build up, painstakingly choosing your outfit to match whatever background color your parents had agreed to. (Bonus points if you got the lasers.) And then the prints arrived. How many years would you say you were satisfied with what came back? Because I would say there were...3 years? Maybe? This is 3 out of 14 years in public school. Your yearbook fate was in the hands of a 35 mm camera and a bored photographer.

But now? DIGITAL. Freaking digital cameras. If a kid makes a weird face, the (still sort of bored, let's be honest) photographer knows right away--and they can take another one. The number of unfortunate looking youth in a yearbook is significantly decreased. The pictures come back looking nice! What kind of character is that building, I ask you?

2. Cell phones. I'm not going to go all "why does a kindergarten student need a cell phone blah blah overprivileged youth" on you. I mean, no, I don't think a 10 year old needs a phone because come on how many people do they know? And I don't understand spending that much money on a kid.
But. These are not the reasons for my rant.
(Here is the part where, apparently, I fully transform into my grandmother. I'll put on the Johnny Mathis record and the tea kettle.) Kids today will not know the phone-related horrors that those of us old enough to order a drink in public have repressed.

Children, gather round as I tell you a tale. A long time ago, when someone asked for your number, you would recite the number your parents taught you in kindergarten. Your household phone number. A landline. And they would take out a pen and paper and write it down. Then you had to also find paper and write down their number!
Then...then things got ugly. Let's say you were going to call up this cute boy. You checked to make sure no one else in your house was using the phone and you dialed his number. (Better not lose that scrap of paper because there is no way you're going to program that number where ANYONE can dial it.) And then....


"Oh...hi, Mrs. Mom...this is Boy there?" And sometimes, he was not readily available. So let's say that maybe Mrs. Mom wasn't really a fan of yours, or maybe she wasn't really a chatty woman. So you had to make awkward small talk until Boy could get his ass to the phone.

The other dream scenario here is when someone would call your house looking for you. Let me share a true story with you. Brace yourselves.

I was brushing my teeth one day when I heard the phone ring. Moments later, I heard my father outside the bathroom door. "No, she's in the bathroom right now. She'll have to call you back." *Click*


I quickly rinsed my mouth out and opened the door. "Dad, was that for me? Who was on the phone?"
"Oh, it was a boy. I told him you were in the bathroom." He said this nonchalantly, as if every teenage girl is comfortable with boys knowing about mystery bathroom trips.
"YOU DID WHAT?" I screeched. Maybe a bit dramatic? Whatever.
"Oh calm down. He doesn't know what you're doing in there."
"BUT YOU SAID BATHROOM. JUST TELL HIM I'M BUSY NEXT TIME. OR DEAD!" (I don't think I cliched it with a "why do you ruin everything" but you never know.)

This new generation? They won't have to do that. And for that, I hate them a little bit. Because you don't know awkward, kids, until you've called a boy and tried to casually slip in something about brushing your teeth, just so he wouldn't think you were doing anything unladylike. Especially knowing that he's seen all your tragic yearbook photos.

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