On a recent trip to the Texas panhandle, I found myself in a Dairy Queen in…Panhandle, Texas. While waiting for my grilled chicken sandwich, I pulled out my iTouch and was delighted to discover free wi-fi service. I started browsing, and reminiscing.
Firing up Google Maps, I zoomed in on the rooftop of that DQ,
then zoomed out to determine what was down the road on our way to Pampa.
This is no big deal for anybody under 30. My daughter’s
generation has basically grown up with the world-scanning technologies that I
now take for granted…usually.
I’ll be 55 this year. I remember when the “you tube” was our
black-and-white TV with 3 channels, and hi-fi stereos and cassette tape players
were marvels of modern ingenuity.
I don’t want to come across as the “grumpy old man” who
walked 3 miles to school every day, uphill both ways, and “liked it that way.”
But from time to time I find it helpful to step back and reflect on how
convenience has evolved during my lifetime.
My dad grew up during the Depression Era and World War II,
when entertainment was a 25-cent date (two movie tickets for 10 cents each,
plus 5 cents for popcorn) and convenience was a Model A or a Hudson Coupe. To
me that era seems as long ago as the Revolutionary War.
So today those who live on their Facebook page or expect GPS
in-car navigation might view my nostalgia in the same way: too long ago with no
emotional hooks. And I suppose they're right. My American Idol was astronaut John
Glenn who circled the globe almost 50 years ago.
I understand that the 20- and 30-somethings might not
understand this nostalgia. But I embrace and enjoy 21st century
technology so much because I remember what life was like without it.
Somehow we survived when we had to wait until we got home to
use the phone…or found a phone booth along the way if it was really urgent. And
our GPS was a rumpled folding map in the glove compartment. Life was simpler
and somewhat more inconvenient. That didn’t bother me because I didn’t know any
different. Those were the “good old days,” but I remain amazed at these “good
new days” too.
So pardon me if I sigh and smile as I browse the web from my
personal handheld device in the DQ in Panhandle, TX. I just stopped for a
sandwich and diet coke. Who knew they were going to throw in the world too?