You know how I know I’m older?

I blame NicoleandMaggie’s giggle-worthy post, I had a Midlife Crisis in Class Today, for this one. Read it! Then come back!

Just yesterday I was walking out of class and it just hit me out of nowhere– there is a LOT of skin on campus!! Holy crap. Tiny shorts and tiny tank tops and everyone wears flip flops! I swear to god it wasn’t like that the first time I went to college– was it? And then I couldn’t really remember and that made things even worse.

And then just the other day the kids and I were in the car and we were blah blah blabbing and somehow it got to me telling stories of things my brothers and I did as kids. And then it dawned on me the reason we sounded so much crazier than my own kids is because we had way less “easy” entertainment, i.e. video games, movies,internet, cable were not in my house until I was in the double digit years, so the 90’s. I was explaining about TV before cable and counted off the channels we had access to– all 7 of them. Eldest says, “Yeah but one of them was a kids’ channel at least, right?”

No, my child. I had to explain there were no channels dedicated to children’s programming, there were only time blocks dedicated to children’s programming– after school until the 5 o’clock news, Saturday morning until noon, and then on Sunday ABC would put on an ABC Family presentation in the early evening and it was usually a Disney movie or something like that. They were freaking out.

But they suddenly understood why we did things like play pranks on each other (I sprayed them with a hose from outside through the window screen when they were in the tub a couple times and I was notorious for rigging up buckets filled with LEGO pieces and Hot Wheels on top of their bedroom doors and then waiting patiently until I heard the crash and the screams of the bucket falling on their heads).

Or why we played lots of imagination-based games– like declaring the whole floor was lava and then proceeding to walking around the room by climbing on furniture and jumping onto bean bags or pretending their bunk bed was a giant pirate ship and we were stuck in a storm.

Or why we were always doing things outside like running in sprinklers, riding bikes and roller skates everywhere, climbing trees to hide and read in (just me), and playing football in the street.

Or why it seems we were always tangled up in some sort of physical assault. I’ll never forget the time I shoved my brother and he cracked his head open against the iron bars and my mom freaked out. Or the time he and I were fighting and he got put in time out and I didn’t and like the asshat I was, I went skipping up and down the hallway he was stuck in showing off my freedom when he kicked his leg out, tripped me, and sent me flying down the hallway. Well played MutantWino, well played. Or the times I’d go in and pull MutantWino off MutantPirate. Or the time MutantWino broke his finger chasing MutantPirate around the room. Or the time MutantPirate turned his eye all red and demonic looking by running into a bedpost while being chased after by MutantWino.

And I also realized why it always seemed to me that as kids we played with our toys more than kids do today. That never clicked in my head until that conversation. Answer: we DID play with our toys more often, because we had to.

So my kids and I talked about it and we decided this weekend, we are turning the clock back 30 years and living like it’s 1983. And the fact that was 30 years ago is enough to make me slightly nauseated.

And then, today I was watching the amazing video Google put out about Glass and actually got choked up! We have come so far, this was science fiction when I was little!

What about you? What recent happenings make you feel older?


17 thoughts on “You know how I know I’m older?

  1. Interesting observation. I didn’t have siblings to fight with, so I have none of those stories to share, although I do remember being outside all the time. Like from the moment I came home to school til dinnertime. I also remember climbing trees and hopping fences and throwing stuff down sewers and hanging out in cemeteries (that’s where city kids used to hang out..the only green space around).

    I can’t believe how much has changed since we were in grammar school. I’m sure kids can’t imagine a world without computers and cell phones. My kid asked me what a typewriter was once. I had to explain that was what they used to write on before computers. I’ll tell you, who would have thunk that my typing class in high school would have been THE most useful class of all.

  2. Back in my day, the whole floor was made out of alligators, not lava. Because the carpets in the apartments we lived in were generally avocado green. Just like alligators.

    We mostly played a lot of board games, read, made stuff (out of paper, mostly), and went swimming at the neighborhood pool.

  3. Reading this makes me feel old. I have started telling my kids in the olden days how “hard” life was. We didn’t have all these gadgets to entertain us. I had to pay for my own cell phone using my own money. The horror!!!

  4. Let’s see.

    Most calls were long-distance, meaning they cost money. Not calls I made, of course. I would never have made a long-distance call without asking my mother first. We had 4 TV channels, and of course one would stand up and walk across the room to change the channel, or the volume. Or to adjust the rabbit ears and try to tune in the signal.

    (Perhaps 10 years ago a handy man working on my mom’s home cut the connection to the TV antenna, after which she decided to — gasp! — go ahead and subscribe to basic cable. The handyman said he had no clue anyone would still be using a rooftop antenna to tune in a TV signal, or he wouldn’t have cut it)

    I grew up in the SE but we did not have a/c in our home (well, central a/c, to be fair, there was a window unit in the kitchen) until I was in the double digits. I commented on this to a faculty member once and he (who grew up in Appalachia) noted that the home *he* grew up in lacked indoor plumbing. So, that helps keep things in perspective.

    We got a microwave at about the same time (around my teenage years), though they’d been around for awhile. Early adopters we were not.

    Do you know, you used to have to turn a crank to roll a car window up or down? Also we did not lock our cars (often I still don’t, but then, I lack electronic gadgets) and we left the windows open when the car were parked. Oh, cars did not have a/c which of course relates to that leave-the-windows open decision. And, my mom (no joke) had seat belts installed in the back seat of her car when we were kids, so she could put us in carseats (and then keep us belted in once we were older). Everyone told her she was nuts since, duh, you cannot get hurt if you are in the back seat when a vehicle gets in an accident. Also, one of my brother’s car seats was sort of like a giant padded tube thingy that the seatbelt went around and he sat in, it had a sort of desk tray at its front. I cannot imagine it provided much in the way of safety, but I’m sure it was standard fare for the day (for those nutty enough to belt kids in at all).

    My mom kept my childhood Legos, which is great, because now my son can play with what I consider “real” Lego and not those crazy kits. Also, think of the savings I enjoy not buying those crazy kits (yet we still have Lego).

    Dogs ran loose in our neighborhoods and kids were not alarmed by loose dogs (however, dogs got killed by cars far more frequently than they do today).

    I’m sure there’s lots more, but those are the things that spring to mind.

    • I remember the window cranks on the cars. And regular locks too. And what about the third seat in the front row? Sitting up there was a privilege! I also remember no remote controls on TVs for sure. And some houses here did not have central a/c but many did. How about the phones? Remember having to use the one phone in the house that was always somewhere like the kitchen? I remember what a big deal it was to get your own phone in your room and I remember being jealous of some of my friends who got their very own private line!! I also remember the amazing new technology of cordless phones but if you walked too far away they went all STATIC in your ear

      • Yes! Hahaha! I was just thinking about that, how phones used to have cords and be plugged into the wall (they also had decent *sound quality,* something whose loss I bemoan). We have the Sandra Boynton book “Opposites” where there are “right” and “wrong” portrayed by two pigs using telephones, and they are the old-style phones, something no kid today would ever recognize (speaking of which, remember that clicking sound from rotary-dial phones? Or the ones one actually *dialed*?).

      • Oh, and of course if my folks went out they would leave the number of the restaurant, etc., where they were heading with the sitter …

  5. Also, on a more serious note, I think “kids today” have no CLUE how far we have come on some other pretty important issues. just to be plain I don’t think we have come far enough nor do I think it’s been a uniform improvement, BUT just last week I was sitting, appropriately enough, on a bus (“It all started on a bus!”) where another passenger and the bus driver were engaged in conversation about growing up around here etc. etc. and the driver (in response to a question) said, “Oh I went to [thus and such] public high school, but then after they integrated I got moved to [thus and such] other school so that’s where I graduated.” My own high school integrated the year I was born, so long before I was a student there, but within my lifetime (I was born in the second half of the 1960s).

    Similarly, when (same decade I was born) my dad’s sister divorced, got a job, and went to buy a house for herself and her boys to live in, she had to get her dad to co-sign, because being a woman she couldn’t, you know, take out a mortgage.

  6. Pingback: The Shock that Shouldn’t Have Been | Mutant Supermodel

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