The Boomer Corner
Technology Then and Now
As I add on the years and become less nimble, I find that I need to be quicker on my feet as I dodge people who are more interested in looking at their phones than where they are going. Is their left hand going to mutate so that it is permanently bent to better fit a phone? Will their heads stay bent instead of being upright? Are mutations taking place even now? As I drive along I see people carelessly crossing the road looking down at their phone (after all, texting is more important than making it across the road alive!)
I went to the dictionary and found out a little bit about mutations.
(“A gene mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene, such that the sequence differs from what is found in most people. Mutations range in size; they can affect anywhere from a single DNA building block (base pair) to a large segment of a chromosome that includes multiple genes. Dec 4, 2018)”
(“Acquired (or somatic) mutations occur at some time during a person’s life and are present only in certain cells, not in every cell in the body. These changes can be caused by environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation from the sun, or can occur if an error is made as DNA copies itself during cell division. Acquired mutations in somatic cells (cells other than sperm and egg cells) cannot be passed to the next generation.”)
I wonder how young people today would survive if they were transported back to the sixties. At that time, most of us had one phone in the house. It was usually in the kitchen where the family often sat around after supper. If the family wasn’t in the kitchen, they were in the living room which was right next to the kitchen. Either way, there wasn’t much privacy if the love of your life phoned. There was also the fact that others wanted to use the phone. Maybe a sibling would tell you directly to get off the phone. Your Dad might clear his throat a few times. There was also the fact that the family stared at you as you made your plans for a ‘hot’ date. I don’t know how we survived! Perhaps it was because that was the way of life back then.
When we went anywhere we didn’t have directions on our phones because cell phones hadn’t been invented then. We looked up on how to get somewhere on a map and maybe wrote down directions. There was usually a well-worn map in the glove compartment of the car. If you were going on a vacation, your Dad ordered maps from CAA. They came in the form of booklets, and you started at the first page. When you got to the end of the page, you flipped over to the next. As you turned the pages, you came closer to your destination. When you finished the last page you were there.
If we wanted to go to a movie, we checked the paper to see what was on and where. If we went to downtown Toronto, we made sure we had dimes with us. When we wanted to find out directions to the movie theatre we wanted to go, we went into a phone booth and phoned the TTC and asked. We told them where we were and where we wanted to go and they told us what street car to get and where to get off. That was when a real person answered the phone.
Our phones were attached to the wall. They didn’t have to be charged and we never had to look for them. If we called someone and no one answered we had to hang up and call again later. If the line was busy, we hung up and kept calling until their phone rang. If we were out, we had to wait until we got home to use the phone. We hoped that if a friend had called someone had taken a message. My favourite message was on a fridge magnet, “Mom someone called and wants you to call them back”. I thought that answering machines were a great innovation.
I’m not against the technology that we now have to use. I have a desk top and laptop computer, along with a tablet and smart phone. Our family got our first computer, a VIC 20 about thirty-five years ago. Other family members had considerably higher skills than I when it came to PAC man! Next came an Apple which was really a glorified word processor. Some time in the late eighties or early nineties we got a deal through the school board-about $2000.00. Then my son went away to school (in the mid-nineties). We got him a PC. When he came home for the summer I was introduced to the internet. There was a lander on Mars and there was a website where you could see pictures it was sending back to earth. I was hooked and I purchased my first PC. I was introduced to ‘chat lines’. I quickly learned what I could do with that ‘machine’ that was sitting on my desk. That’s why I can do this and send it for the Newsfeed without leaving my chair. That is why I can keep in touch with friends and relatives in distant countries. I just need to know if there is going to be a way to pack it in my ‘pine box’!
About the Author
Linda Calder is a retired teacher. She likes to write and enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys going on cruises, taking pictures and scrapbooking.