After reluctantly accepting some forms of technology, it looks like another of my old school habits will soon be gone. To put this tale into context, I still own one of those tripod cameras with the dark cloak you throw over your head. OK, maybe not. But I bought some 35mm film recently, which was pretty easy and inexpensive, but getting it developed…not so much.
The photos for this Discord classic will most likely be the last 35mm photos I take. When I went back to the drugstore where I bought the film, I was informed they no longer develop film. “But I bought the film here yesterday” I logically pointed out. As if saying this out loud would somehow bring film developing immediately back to the store. The clerk again politely informed me the store no longer developed film. I looked at her as if to say, “but, but, but I bought the film here yesterday.” She looked at me as if to say “you bought your toilet paper here too, but we didn’t follow you home and wipe your ass.”
Realizing I would not get the film developed in the store I bought the film from, I did what any person my age should do, I went on a killing spree. Actually, on the way home I looked for a Fotomat booth. Remember them? Well, there aren’t any. I went home, put on my reading glasses, opened the phone book, took the receiver off the hook, listened for the dial tone, and rotarily called several places until I found one that still developed film. As it turns out, getting one roll of film developed was more expensive than buying a four pack of film from the first place! So that’s that. I can no longer fight the film fight. I have several other expenses/bills first, but soon, as much as it pains me to say it, I will be purchasing my first dig-i-tal camera.
I certainly understand the selling points of such a technological monstrosity: Photos can be seen instantly, even quicker than a Polaroid. You never run out of film or have to change rolls at an inopportune time, and with email, Flickr, Facebook, etc… photos can be shared with many people all over the globe within minutes of taking them—which really came in handy when Zano passed out during his last Vegas trip. And while those are all good things, I suppose (except the Zano part), it takes away one of my favorite feelings (and a good Carly Simon song) Anticipation. Some of you may be too young to remember what it was like drop off a roll of film, and call the store or Fotomat a few days later to see if your memories were back yet. Pictures may fade a bit but they last forever (assuming you do not lose them), and I do not think waiting a few days for eternal memories is a big deal.
I also had pen pals way back when: Sonja in OR, Barbara in TX, Charlie and Karen in different parts of PA, and some others whose memories have faded like an old photograph. I remember that feeling in my gut as the school day drew to a close, wondering if I would have mail, actual envelopes with stamps and postmarks on them, with handwritten ink notes on paper inside, delivered by a human being. If I had letters, great! If not, something to look forward to for the next day.
When the Zanos visited me Easter weekend I needed someone more mature than Mick to have a conversation with, so I talked with his 11-year old. I am not sure how the topic came up, but I was explaining to her how phones were not always portable, households used to share one phone number (and often one phone), and going further back, several houses on one block used to share a phone and number. She certainly has mastered her father’s blank clueless stare. Then I told her about busy signals and not being able to leave a voice message. She looked at me as if I was reading a fairy tale.
“You are making that up!” she insisted.
When the Zanos and I got separated for a few minutes on the Strip she texted me. When we found each other and I told her I do not have texting, she looked at me in a confused gross amazement. I would describe it as the way a vegan would look during a backstage tour of a butcher shop. Oh, and we did that later in the day.
Oh, and if your phone is so smart, why does it not tell you the text did not go through?
When I set my VCR to tape a show as the Zanos and I went out, she laughed. Excuse me, she LOL’d, or more grammatically correctly, L’dOL (Remember grammar? Whatever happened to grammar?). She has a fleeting memory of VCRs. At least mine is VHS. If you do not know what BETA is, Goggle it (yes, back in my day it was called Goggle). And try explaining what it was like not being able to tape/record a show to someone born in this millennium.
I still have a cassette player in my car, complete with The Big Chill soundtrack forever embedded in it. Zano points this out every time he visits, usually accompanied by some snide ass remark. Zano’s daughter held the dingy white cassette tape like a museum curator might hold a shard of some 3rd Dynasty Egyptian pottery. I was going to explain how cassette players are more advanced than eight track players, but you have to choose your battles. Anyone else remember waiting thru five lousy songs to get to the one you really wanted to hear? Back then, it was not a hardship. Anticipation…
I actually have a computer, probably not as advanced as yours, but at least I have one. And one of my favorite sites on the interwebs is The You of Tubes. I have no idea how to put anything on there, nor do I want to. I use it for listening to old songs like Peter Frampton’s Show Me the Way, which I believe is about programming one’s DVR. There were plenty of beautiful women in the 2000s, but I still hold a special place in my heart for Peggy Lipton, Barbara Eden, Farrah Fawcett, Catherine Bach, et al, and their images are all over YouTube. In fact, I dream of Barbra Eden. If you laughed at that one, you’re officially an old fart. Two fairly modern songs I recommend people listen to on YouTube, or Ithingies, or PMS players, or whatever gizmos you have—which will be obsolete this time next month—are Tim McGraw’s Back When and Mark Wills’ 19 Somethin’. I also watch a lot of pre 1984 pro-wrestling there, as I much prefer it to the post 1984 product. Why and how the product changed is not Discord material, but trust me, it is like the difference between the PGA and mini golf.
Everything these days is instant this and automatic that. The whole world is all orgasm and no foreplay. While I am certainly pro orgasm, a big part of me still thinks that sucks, but not in a good way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to return to my Viewmaster Land of the Lost, reel 3.