Tuesday, February 19, 2013

That Antique Moment

This action is known as "dialing."
At a dinner party over the weekend, one guy started complaining that his nephews had no idea how to use a dial phone. His dad still had an old rotary in the kitchen, and the boys couldn't figure out how to use it.

"It's a PHONE?" was their shocked reaction. "But how do you dial?"

In fact, I'm surprised they know the concept of dialing. Soon we'll just speak to Siri, and she'll dial for us. 

My own antique moment came when my husband and I were first married. We moved to Evanston so he could go to Kellogg business school; part of the MBA experience was going to Friday night mixers to chat with other students.

At one mixer, I started talking to a very young, very attractive girl. She was wearing a pendant on a long chain that looked exactly like this:

image courtesy of yesteryearremembered.com

"Oh, that's so cool!" I gushed. "It looks just like those things we used to pop into the center of 45's!"

She frowned. "What are you talking about?" she asked.

And that's when it hit me: I'm old. It was that awkward, antique moment.

That moment is arriving faster as the speed of technology picks up. After all, those old rotaries had a good run - they were around for fifty-odd years, I'd guess. (Before that, people picked up a sort of speaking tube and demanded numbers like Pennsylvania 65000.)

Now tech gets replaced every year, at least. Remember burning CD's? That wasn't all that long ago. Soon, though, that action will seem as quaint as floppy disks or my little 45 rpm doodad, as we place huge mp3 lists on external memory sticks and trade those.

I sort of miss those rotary phones. It was fun to dial them with a pencil, and I liked that clicky noise the dial made. Ditto real records - when you played a great album on a sweet stereo after midnight, in your sister's room, listening on headphones. That ROCKED.

It's cool that my kid doesn't need a ride to the mall every single time she wants to buy a One Direction song*; plus, she and her friends are doing stuff on their iPods that I would have considered witchcraft when I was her age. Still, I really want a phone number that has a word in it. Make mine Antique 1960.

*I know. She's 8 - what can you do?


Hart Johnson said...

HA! It is nuts how fast things change, isn't it. I remember having a car with no seatbelts... or when coffee required a percolator... (when I write dystopian stuff I always browse my mind for where to find one of those because coffee makers don't work with no electricity... my grandma had one that would work on the stove (gas is on pressure, so less likely to be cut off when we're invaded *shifty* yes, I know I think about strange things)

west_2552 said...

Loved reading this post, Alison! Before we moved to WC, we lived briefly in Glenside, PA, and our phone number was TU7-8532 (the TU being "Turner". Going back even further-- when my parents first moved to Carlisle, PA, they had a party line. You could potentially listen in on someone's phone conversation, and I'm sure that that happened!! Anyway, there were several families that shared the same line. Each household had a unique ring, and you would answer only if you heard your own ring. If you were at a neighbor's house and heard your ring, you could answer your call there. Mom said that you would sometimes hear the phone in the middle of the night and more or less sleep right through it. But if you heard your personal ring tone (was theirs three long and three short?? That comes to mind. My dad could probably recall even w/his Alzheimers brain-- you remember things better from your past....), then you'd perk right up and get up to answer it-- antique conditioning!!

Anyway, do we all have our old phones stashed away in case of a power outage?? I know where ours is. No power needed for that baby to work!! Or are most of us doing away w/our land lines making the need to hold onto our old phones (in case of power failure) obsolete??

Oh, oner more antique thought, and then I'll sign off. When I was living in State College in the early 80s, I remember going to a special little theater type place so that I could view VHS movies in a little private viewing room-- this is before the VCRs were affordable by most households. Now we have movies "streaming" right into our living rooms, not a whole lot of years later......

What will we see 30 years from now?

Alison DeLuca said...

It's like those roll-down windows in cars that actually make so much more sense if you're ever swept off a bridge in your car. Then you don't need one of those rock hammer gizmos to break your way out.

Sometimes analogue is so cool!

Muse said...

It is nice to know it is not just me. I tried to tell my son the three sizes for records. I had to go to a used store to show and convince him they exist. He asked me, "But how do you listen to them?"

Alison DeLuca said...

It's definitely not just you. My daughter was appalled to learn that we used to have to stop, dig out a dime, and find a phone booth if we wanted to make a call on the road.

Unknown said...

Hi Alison,
This is a test--I just tried posting a fascinating comment but it wouldn't post...
Just trying it out again after I signed in to Google.

Unknown said...

Okay, I shall try my fascinating comment again.
I work in a nursing home where the residents get this magazine called "Remenisce". The mag is filled with photos and stories from the thirties and forties, and it makes me wonder what will be in our magazine, when we become aged and fabulous.
Favorite Song: Anything (!) from "Grease".
Favorite Clothes: HASH jeans with the buckle...if your mom will spend $32.00.
Favorite ecoutrement: Big-handled comb to put into pocket of said jeans
Favorite Commercial: "Ooey,Gooey Rich and chewy inside! Soft and cakey, tender flakey outside..." (You know the darn-tootin rest!)
Favorite t.v. show: Fantasy Island or Love Boat (Charlie's Angels is a close third)
Favorite Make-up: Lip-smackers (peppermint or Dr. Pepper)
Favorite Read: "Ammityville Horror" or "Are You There God it's me Margaret?"
Favorite thing to do: Roller skate at Skateland
Favorite Magazine: "Teen" (Still in therapy for this one.)
Favorite Guy on T.V. Scott Baio
Favorite Movie: Star Wars (Duh)
Okay, I'm in seventh grade again.
I feel the need to pad my training bra and slip on the nearest pair of "Candies".
~Just Jill

Alison DeLuca said...

"You're the one that I want - ooh ooh oooh!"

So there with Love Boat, Star Wars, and the Dr. Pepper lipsmackers.

My favorite commercial, though, was a radio jingle: "If you've got the passion for fashion, and you've got the craving for savings, take the wheel of your automobile, and swing on down to - IDEAL!

Deana Zhollis said...

I completely forgot about those things for the 45's. LOL! And it does look just like that! This post did bring some laughs to me. I like the idea of an "antique moment". How funny!

Thanks for the memories!