Thursday, August 30, 2012

Parents 2.0

My parents both passed away by the time I was 35.  I don't believe my dad ever saw a PC, his video camera was bigger than the typical 'purse puppy' and I think we had barely transitioned to VHS before he died.  My mom made it to dial-up and cell phones, though they were the size of a shoe. No reference to Get Smart intended.  Needless to say, every time I see advances in technology I wonder what my parents would have thought.

I know neither one of them would have been wary of the changes.  My dad would have embraced them a bit faster than my mom I think. I could see him happily mowing the lawn with Sinatra, Dean Martin or even Michael Buble (whom he would have loved) playing on his MP3 player.  After scoffing at the cost, he was an accountant after all, he would have happily used up the meager 2G data plan on my tablet in a few short days.  The cellular data providers would have loved him.  He would have been in his element in the age of instant information.  I would not have been surprised to learn he had his own page on a social media site.

My mom, on the other hand, would have loved a DVR.  I remember as I was growing up that the hours between 1:00 and 3:00 Monday-Friday were sacred.  While she might not have been sitting right in front of the television, she was home and within earshot.  This wasn't difficult considering we always had a television in or within viewing range of the kitchen, in every occupied bedroom and the living room or den.  Her thing was the soaps specifically Another World, Days of Our Lives and their spins offs.  It was somewhat frustrating for me as a child.  I was lucky enough from age 6 til 14 to have my own in-ground swimming pool. But I could never use it during those hours - there wasn't a television close enough to the pool area.  Needless to say unless it was an emergency, and I tried very hard not to have those during the afternoon, I was stuck at home in the summer.  Oh the liberation when we got our first betamax - by then we were living in a town where I could walk to things and not in the country but I still needed her to take me to the mall because I did not have a license.  I realized I could drag her away from the television and it even saved her time in that she could fast forward through the commercials.  The only down side was that there was a fixed amount of time on those tapes which required her to stay on top of them before they filled up.  When they would go away I was required to keep her up to date on all that had happened while she was away - at least I didn't have to watch the commercials and I could skim through them so I could summarize.  With today's technology she would be over the moon.  Not only could she save several months’ worth of soaps but she would have a network dedicated entirely to the proliferation of the genre, not to mention all the online access options available to her.
Alas, Another World went off the air in her lifetime.  Days, I learned is still alive and kicking. I happened to turn it on a few months ago out of simple curiosity.  Sadly, it didn't take me long to get up to date on things.  Many of the characters are still there and portrayed by the same people only about 14 years older.

I know my parents would have enjoyed all that the new technologies have to offer. I know my adolescence would have been much freer with the options offered to them in the age of instant information and mobile technology.  Kids these days don't know how easy they have it!

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