I read an article recently about the changes that have occurred in our lives over the past couple of decades. The obvious ones are a result of technology and how we communicate and gather information in our daily lives. But technology has also eliminated other, less obvious items, things that seemed to fade away over a period of time. Things we no longer do.
Memorize a phone number.
I still have phones numbers memorized but that’s because I’m ancient. It used to be something I always did. Now it’s not necessary. Everything is on your phone or in the cloud.
Use a phone book to book up a business or name
I’m sure there is a generation of young people who don’t know what the “yellow pages” are and have never seen something called a phone book. But for many years, this was the way we looked up phone numbers and even addresses of people we wanted to contact. This is how we found contractors to do work around the house or businesses for everyday needs. There was no Angie’s List or reviews on different sites to help determine who you wanted to hire. It was the phone book or word of mouth.
Selling your car with a cardboard sign stuck in the windshield.
I’ll still see this one occasionally, parked in some random location with a phone number and price included. But not often. On line sites, including Craigslist took care of that some years back.
Figure out math in your head
Paying cash for something is becoming more unusual these days but it’s always fun to pay in cash and give the person behind the register some change to eliminate pennies or some bills. They stare at their hands in confusion and look back up at you like committed some crime. Alexa does homework for kids sop that simple math is done with a voice request or on a calculator sitting on your phone.
Calling and asking someone “where are you?”
In this age of technology, all you have to do is download a phone tracker app and everyone you need to find can be located. No more wondering how long before they’ll home for dinner. Well, they could be in traffic, but there’s an app for that also.
Telling time by the hands on a clock
There is an entire generation of young people that either can’t do this or have difficulty with it. When I did some substitute teaching, analog clocks were still in some classrooms and I would always have fun asking kids for the time. I could probably write a blog on those responses.
Sure some of them are still out there and being made but probably not by younger generations. Can you see them printing an image at some local photo shop store, taking 50 or hundred 4×6 or 5×7 photos back home and placing them in a photo album they purchased at Walmart? Digital photography and photo sharing services have all but eliminated that process.
Have a CD or record collection
There are still collectors and purists out there that collect but like photography, music is digital. Napster, (ancient now), paved the way for lots of music being condensed into tiny formats you can easily carry around with you.
I still have drawers filled with these and no where to play them. Actually, I think I still have an old boom box somewhere. I used to love finding just the right song to add onto a specific tape. I’d copy them from radios or records. Anywhere I could.
Calling a theatre for movie times
I remember having to call a movie theatre and listen to a recording listing the movies and times they were being shown. Sometimes you’d pick up the recording mid loop and have to wait for it to begin all over again to hear about the movie you wanted to see. Alexa has that covered now.
One store left in the world and theres a whole generation of young people who probably never heard the word.
Record your favorite movie or show on tape.
I can’t tell you how many VHS tapes I still have with movies and shows I can watch anytime I want on any streaming service. I can even pull up a specific scene. I just can’t convince myself to get rid of those old tapes. And I don’t know why.
Watch shows when they’re broadcast live.
I’ve probably done this at some point in the last few months but I don’t remember when and for what reason. DVR and no commercials. A wonderful invention.
Run to the store for a last minute gift
Amazon has taken care of that problem. If you’re near an Amazon hub you can get something the same day.
Cut things out of the newspaper
I used to do that all the time if I found an article I liked and wanted to keep. Copy and text eliminated that.
Send a handwritten letter
Sigh. This is something I wish would never go away. There is something so personal about receiving a handwritten note. I could, and have written at length about this but since some schools don’t even teach handwriting anymore after a certain grade, it’ll be something that is gone soon. And that’s unfortunate.
Looking up the spelling of words in a dictionary
Spellcheck and autocorrect has taken care of that for us, even placing words never intended into spots that create some uncomfortable moments for us.
Using a phone booth to make a telephone call
I don’t remember the last time I saw one, even one that was busted up. I kind of miss them but not the millions of particles of germs that probably came along with the experience.
Years ago, I gave each of daughters a twenty dollar bill and told them to stick in their wallets and use it only in the event of an emergency. Occasionally I used to ask to see it. Now everyone has a credit or debit card. I think I might have to ask for those 20’s back and go out for a nice little dinner with the wife. But my guess is they’re long gone.
Using a travel agent
Travel agents still serve a purpose if you’re panning an elaborate trip but for basic flights and hotels it’s a do it yourself kind of thing. There are lots of sites that can provide reviews and book flights and hotels.
Getting old checks back from the bank every month.
Some people still write checks. I even write one or two every month but this too will soon be eliminated. Security does make me nervous but I’ve gotten over it. Most of the time.
So what about you? Anything minor items that you can think of that technology has replaced?