Wednesday, 27 May 2015

In my day ........


Recently, while I was recuperating in bed, I started thinking about childhood and I realised something quite profound: the moment you go from being young and cool to being an old sheila/codger is not related to age.  It's when you start using the expression "in my day".

This is especially true when you combine "in my day" with any of the following - "people had manners", "Children knew the real value of money", "Men wore trousers around their waists and not their knees", and "Music was actually music, and not this noise".

I'm really loathe to admit that I've been dishing up "in my day" way too frequently of late, so I guess it's only a matter of time when I too will be wearing my trousers around my nipples.

A good example of "in my day" - people used to write letters.  These days, kids seem to think 'letters' is the bit of the Big Mac that's left over once the two all beef patties, special sauce, cheese, pickles, onions and sesame seed bun have been eaten.  Lettuce .... LETTUCE!!

You know that nobody writes letters anymore, when even your World Vision sponsored child sends you emails or tells you to access their Facebook page.

Don't get me wrong, I like email, but it's nowhere near as good as an old-fashioned letter.  A love email will never be as romantic as a love letter, no matter how many smiley faced emoticons you attach to the end.

And let's not forget, it is far less likely your regular mailbox will be filled with deals for cheap viagra.

Don't even get me started on the fact that when I was a kid, if you wanted to take a photo, send an email, listen to music and make a phone call, you actually needed a cameras, a computer, a stereo and a telephone. These days you can do it all on your mobile.

It would never have happened in my day.

Having said all of that, in a relatively short space of time, I have metamorphosed from a complete Luddite to someone who is a sucker for any new doodad (it's a technical term) on the market.  My favourite gadget, by far, has to be my iPod. I love it, yet I have to confess the feeling wasn't always mutual.

I got my first iPod back in the early days, when they were made of wood and you had to pedal a bike to make them play more than 2 songs in a row.  The main problem way back in YOT (Ye Olde Times) was that even though the technology enabled you to listen to thousands of songs in a row, the battery had a shorter life than most new Australian comedies on the 7 Network.

Still it was certainly an improvement on the discman, which if you tried to take  it with you when jogging, , it made your Best of Susan Boyle CD sound like it was remixed by Eminem. By the way, owning an iPod is kind of like being married to Rod Stewart - you know in a couple of weeks a new model is going to come along.

OK, seriously folks, I'm all for technological advancement, but  for me, the justifying principle is that the new doodad must enhance your life in some way and perhaps even improve you as a person.  for example, I reckon I'm a much friendlier sheila since I got my new Samsung phone.  But before I explain why - a little background  .....

Despite my best efforts - and I do try - I'm hopeless with names.  For some reason, my brain has an uncanny capacity for retaining useless trivia, but anything important like names, birthdays, tax file numbers, car registrations or my PIN gets erased like an Etch-a-Sketch. I've lived in the same place nearly all my life, and I still don't know my home phone number. Although, given I live alone, I don't know why Id ever need to call my home - unless I was going to ask the dog to tape EastEnders.

But I digress.

I find it amazing, and completely frustrating, that I can still clearly remember that Mrs Mangel caught the bouquet at Charlene and Scott's wedding on Neighbours, but often I'll be halfway through a conversation with someone I know, and have to say "Excuse me, I'm so sorry, but what's your name again?"  Only to have them stare at me, shake their heads, sigh and say ... "It's Peter, but to be honest, normally you just call me dad!"

The worst thing is, it's not as though I don't try to remember names. I've used every trick in the book. For example, someone suggested to me once if I didn't remember someone's name, just ask them. "So how do you spell your name again?"  The first time I tried this, the person I was talking to just stared at me and said "R .....O.....B". Trying to save face, I said "No, silly. I meant your surname."  To which he replied "J.....O.....N.....E.....S". At this point I decided to change the topic by asking if he knew who caught the bouquet at Scott and Charlene's wedding on Neighbours.

I was ready to give up and resign myself to a life of constantly being embarrassed in social situations until a little bit of technology changed my life forever.

(I finally have come to the point of my story, thanks for your patience).

It all happened when I was invited to a wedding and had to confront what is basically my worst nightmare - a room full of people who were 'friends' of a friend.  You know, the sort of people you've met once or twice, so you should know their names, but you'd actually struggle to identify them in a line-up.

Then I had a sudden realisation.  On my new Samsung, I can access the internet.  I ducked outside, and quickly looked up the bride's Facebook page where there were photos of most people at the party with their names underneath each photo.  And not just their names!  I strolled back into the party full of confidence and conversation starters.

"So, Paul, good to see you.  Are you still into ....... Kylie Minogue?  And Sally, its good to see you too.  I was so sad to see that you and Paul had gone from being 'in a relationship' to 'it's complicated'.

Thank you, internet.


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