Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Five: Modern and Post-Modern

Singing Owl at RevGalBlogPals remarks:

Yesterday I had two separate conversations in which people were musing about how much change is occurring. The WW II generation, of which my mom is a part, went from horse and buggy to automobiles, saw the lessening, or even the end of many diseases, went from widespread use of kerosene lamps and outhouses (in the country, and most folks were rural)) to a totally electrified and plumbed society. The fastest means of communication was a telegraph. The second conversation--gulp--was about MY generation and how much change occurred in the last half of the 20th century. The person said his 13 year old had not seen a vinyl record album until a few days before, couldn't remember a time without cell phones, and on and on.

As for the questions!

1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live without?
Well, it's not that modern but I don't think the ancient Romans had them -- eyeglasses! Electric lights are nice too. And running water of some kind with a way to heat it. And, of course, the printed word.
Everything else is gravy. I have lived without indoor plumbing, central heating, electronic entertainment, and the Internet. While I wouldn't choose to give them up, I could live without them. I have (briefly) lived without running water and I'd just as soon not, although a simple pump like my grandmother had when I was little had its charms, and a wood stove could heat the water. Again, I'm not volunteering for the pump and woodstove, but I could deal if it came to that. But without my glasses, I'd be a danger to myself and others, and no books? Ouch!

2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day?
Car alarms.
I've never heard of one actually foiling a break-in or theft, but they certainly are annoying when they malfunction in the middle of the night (or really anytime.) I don't even like the little "toot" when someone remotely locks his/her car doors, as I always think someone is honking at me.

3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If so, do you use it (them)?
Well, if you don't count the radio...we have one CD boombox that also plays cassette tapes, which has proved useful fairly recently for Onkel Hankie Pants' musical rehearsals. Also, we have some cassettes recording family talks or performances. I wish I still had a recordplayer, but I just had a vinyl record transferred to CD for $5 so I guess I can live without it.

4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something else?
Definitely a mix. Global climate change: really scary. Improved communications: exciting. Social changes: increased acceptance of GLBT people, exciting. Increased fearfulness of parents resulting in over-programmed, nature-deficient children: scary. And I could go on and on.

5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain? Bonus points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process.
My mother grew up on a dairy farm, and my father in a fishing community - rural areas with no electricity. Life was not always easy, and they certainly enjoyed the comforts and convenience that technology brought them when they grew up. But they also learned a lot of skills and, I think, developed a closeness to nature and a sense of their place in it that many of us have lost or never had. Now, economics and a desire for a more sustainable life may be driving us to relearn some of those skills, to understand why fresh strawberries in December or blueberries in May maybe aren't such a great idea, to think a little about what we could do without if we had to. Even this craze for knitting that Cordeliaknits and Sisterknits have developed is part of this new Zeitgeist, I think. Maybe it's not too late even for me to learn some new skills!

Or for those who prefer a more classical vein:


Mrs. M said...

"Now, economics and a desire for a more sustainable life may be driving us to relearn some of those skills, to understand why fresh strawberries in December or blueberries in May maybe aren't such a great idea"

Yep. Back we go, I hope, to a better sense of the Earth not being at our beck and call.

Diane said...

oh CAR ALARMS! yes! I like your answers. a lot of things ARE gravy (actually most things). But I do like the indoor plumbing....

I'll have to come back on a better computer to get your videos...

Sally said...

love it, and why didn't I think of car alarms!

Singing Owl said...

Yeah, what Sally said. Darn car alarms. Eyeglasses...oh yeah..ESSENTIAL to my functioning.

RevDrKate said...

Oh car alarms...yes, amen! Especially at 3 a.m., or when I walk by and set them off in parking lots.

Thursday's Child said...

Why didn't I think of eye-glasses? Neither my mum nor my husband could live a normal life without them.

Chorus said...

Oh yes! Good call on the car alarms!!

RevAnne said...

I forgot about eyeglasses. Without them (or my beloved contact lenses, or the much-anticipated lens implants that I will save for as soon as I finish school), I might as well sit in a corner and talk to myself. Won't be good for a thing. Great play!