Blast from the Past

It's not as if I had just bought a really old fashioned phone!

It’s not as if I had just bought a really old fashioned phone!

Every now and again, a ‘blast from the past’ photo will pop up on Facebook with the message – ‘Like if you remember/had one of these?’ I am always amazed at how it takes a FB post to jog my memory about the existence of something that was so commonplace in my life growing up. Last week, my munchkins took the place of FB to remind me of how some things have moved on. I bought a new, cordless landline phone. As I unpacked the box, a guffaw of confusion rang out:

What is that????’ cried my boys in unison.

‘It’s a phone for the house’ I explained casually not thinking that to them, it actually was rather a foreign looking object.

‘It’s sooooo old fashioned looking’ exclaimed DS1.

This got me thinking about things that I was used to growing up but which my kids might only ever learn from a trip to a museum or courtesy of Facebook or Google!

– Homework and copybooks covered in used brown paper/gift wrap or leftover cuttings of wallpaper
– A world without Wifi
– Black and white TV
– Having to get up off the sofa, walk to the TV to manually change to one of the five channels available
– Boiling water on the stove
– Vinyl records and record players, Walkmans, cassettes and VHS recorders. CDs won’t be far behind.
– Walking or using public transport to go to school (that might just be an affliction of most Dubai schoolchildren!)
– Specialist shops – greengrocers, haberdashery, butchers, fishmongers, bakeries
– Tuning in to watch a weekly episode of series….box sets and 24hr TV have changed the face of TV series
– Appreciating seasonal fruits during the right season
– Drinking tapwater
– Brittanica encyclopaedia
– Radios that are not car radios

I miss some of these things; some of them I don’t (espcially trying to detangle tape in cassettes that would be chewed up by the recorder!!). It does seem that the world is becoming a smaller, more efficient place. Giant supermarkets offer baked goods alongside fruit, meat and fish – a one stop shop. Smart phones combine a number of gadgets in one slim-fit-in-your-handbag device, making everything available at a touch. I can’t help but think a consequence of this 21st century life is that we engage less with people around us. There are no friendly chats with the baker, the fishmonger or the greengrocer. Kids prefer to What’s App, use Instagram and other social media platforms rather than, as I remember, spend hours chatting on the old fashioned phone!

Perhaps one day, like old fashioned cars (as my kids call them), some of these things will make a come back and be graciously named ‘vintage’.

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