I’ve seen the future, and you are it.

Let’s go back to a simpler time. Bad hair. Acid-washed jeans. Jelly bracelets. Awkward teenage Amy with gigantic glasses and her nose in a book.

What was different about this time, other than Amy’s fashion sense (shh, don’t mention that her fashion sense hasn’t gotten much better, at least her jeans aren’t acid-washed now and her glasses are smaller) and the programs on television?

Oh, everything.

I was thinking the other day, after a conversation with Andreas about the FUUUUU-TURE, how awesome it is to be living in it.

Ooh, Andreas, look at THIS future! FANCY.

Ooh, Andreas, look at THIS future! FANCY.

(Andreas disagrees. Well, I think half-jokingly disagrees. Andreas wants moonstations and flying cars and is VERY DISAPPOINTED that these things haven’t come to pass. THEY WERE PROMISED TO A YOUNG ANDREAS DAMMIT. As a side note, I like to imagine a young Andreas. I think he would have been very opinionated and a joy to behold. Little intelligent kiddos are some of my favorite humans.)

Let’s think about how we USED to do things, and how we get to do them NOW. And then laugh at ourselves. Sadly.

HOW WE USED TO TALK TO EACH OTHER

Back in the day, if you wanted to keep in touch with a person who was far-away, you wrote to them. But you wrote LETTERS. With a PEN. And PAPER. And then you waited for them to respond. And it took FOREVER. This was not easy for those of us who needed instant gratification. Me. I mean me.

Young Amy wrote a LOT of letters. A LOT of them. To a lot of people. I’d write them in school and also at home and I think I might have single-handedly kept the postal service afloat from 1986 to 1992.

I also wrote notes to people I saw every day. I think maybe I was a blogger before I was a blogger. Someday someone’s going to find all those notes and letters and publish them and make a billion dollars off the collected letters of Lucy’s Football, aren’t they? Oh, I shudder to think. I can’t imagine they were exactly scintillating. And I think I might have used those colored gel pens for a while.

NOW, we can talk to someone IMMEDIATELY. With email or Facebook or Twitter or however you talk to your people, I don’t know. If I want to talk to someone halfway around the world I don’t have to send a letter and wait and wait and WAIT. I can type and they usually respond in a timely fashion. This is so much better for impatient Amy. SO much better.

When I first discovered the wonders of email back in…um…I want to say 1992? 1992-ish? Beginning of college. We had a whole computer LAB. And it was like the worst email program EVER, but it was VERY EXCITING. It was like a whole new world. I could talk to friend M. who was in college in a whole other TOWN like right AWAY. Also we played some sort of terrible roleplaying game where gross people would try to hit on you and then you would log out and then log back in and they were telling people you were married and it was all very confusing and there were no graphics. I was not very good at that.

Even BETTER, now that our phones are teeny-tiny computers, we can have our email and such with us EVERYWHERE. I don’t care about flying cars, Andreas. I get to take all of you with me in my purse EVERYWHERE I GO.

Also, even though letters in the mailbox are kind of the best thing (even now), I get just as excited seeing an email from one of my most beloveds in my email inbox. It doesn’t matter what format love comes in, my little pot pies. As long as you’re getting the love, it’s all the same and it’s all wonderful. Now with email, we can get that love more quickly and frequently. (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.)

HOW WE USED TO LEARN THINGS

Now, kids, gather ’round, and I will tell you a HORRIFYING STORY about the DAYS OF YORE. Where, if you were tasked with researching something, you had to look it up in the encyclopedia. THE ENCYCLOPEDIA! Or on MICROFICHE! Also, if you wanted to learn something ON YOUR OWN (very few of us wanted to do this) you had similar options. Encyclopedia. Or you asked someone if they know. People used to be like Wikipedia only less reliable. Plus you had to talk to people and who wants to TALK to people? Exactly.

Do you remember these things? They were so headache-inducing.

Do you remember these things? They were so headache-inducing.

One time I was doing a research project in high school and I had to get reams and reams of photocopied articles sent to me from a billion libraries in New York State and the librarian hated me because I was making her do all kinds of work. THIS IS HOW WE USED TO DO THINGS.

Now if you want to know something? Well. YOU HIT THE INTERWEBS.

Today I wanted to translate Fahrenheit to Celsius. You know how I did that? I typed “fahrenheit to celsius” into Google and they gave me a site where THAT WAS ALL IT DID. And I put in MY temperature and it popped it out as ANDREAS’ temperature. Could we have done that twenty-five years ago? No we could NOT have. (Also I didn’ t know Andreas 25 years ago. And also 25 years ago I lived up near Canada so our themometers all had both measurements on them, so I suppose I could have found out that way, but that is BESIDE THE POINT.)

BOTH MEASUREMENTS!!!

BOTH MEASUREMENTS!!!

I know, we’re all nostalgic about libraries. Well, they’re still there, and books are still there for you. But I don’t know that anyone’s nostalgic for the waste of time researching shit on microfiche or in encyclopedias was. NO ONE. My time is very important to me. I never have enough of it. Think of all the things I wouldn’t have time to learn if we didn’t have the internet! And oh, oh, oh do I love to learn things. I love to learn new things EVERY DAY. Sometimes MULTIPLE things! And I CAN!

HOW WE USED TO LISTEN TO THINGS

If you wanted music, you went to the store and you bought it. If you were fancy (I was not fancy) you watched MTV and I guess you knew when the albums were coming out. I did not get MTV because that was cable. We did not have cable. We got something called Video Hits on Canadian television. It was not good. And if I remember correctly, the host had terrible hair.

Yep, I remember correctly. He did. Also, MAN, was he falsely cheerful.

Anyway, so you went to the store and you bought the album (on tape, or if – like my store often was – they were out of tapes, you bought it on vinyl, which they still stocked) and then you listened to it. On a Walkman. Or on your boombox.

Classy-fun times.

Now if you like a song, you can listen to it for FREE over and over and over online and then you can download it, if you want. And you can listen to it on your teeny-tiny iPod or whatever you listen to your music on. (I don’t even have an iPod. I can’t afford one. Shush, I know, I have a billion CDs instead. I do have a terrible off-name-brand MP3 player but it won’t load any new music so it’s all stuff I loved five years ago. Which I still love, but it never changes, so that’s a little sad.)

I kind of want one of these. Shiny things make me excited.

I kind of want one of these. Shiny things make me excited.

Again, the instant gratification of this makes me very happy.

HOW WE USED TO WATCH THINGS

If you missed a television show back in the old days, too bad, bub, you were shit out of luck. We got a VCR when I was in…um…high school, maybe? The remote was attached with a cord. It was a Betamax. We thought we were living the high life, yo.

Hee! Oh, technology, how I love you. SO CLASSY.

Hee! Oh, technology, how I love you. SO CLASSY.

(SIDE NOTE: my brother found that old VCR a while ago and tried to make it work. Yes, apparently we are hoarders in my family and still have outdated technology from 25 years ago just sitting around. “Well? Did you make it work?” I said. “Yep. Guess what was in there? A Beauty and the Beast tape. Remember that show? That tape’s stuck in there and won’t come out, but it plays just fine. So if we want to watch all the Beauty and the Beast, I guess we could do that. Why did we tape that show? She was a LAWYER. Who was in love with a BEAST. Who lived in the SEWER. You know what he would smell like? SEWER. So THAT would be romantic,” my brother said. He makes me laugh, that brother of mine.)

"What is that SMELL? Oh, Vincent, it's YOU. Ergh."

“What is that SMELL? Oh, Vincent, it’s YOU. Ergh.”

Now we have OPTIONS. We can DVR them or we can watch them LEGALLY online or we can watch them ILLEGALLY online (don’t do this, of course, cough cough) or we can read recaps online or we can ask our people what happened or any of a million things. ANY of a million things.

You can probably do this with movies, too. I’ve never illegally watched a movie online. It seems like a lot of work and could totally give you a virus. More so than a short television show. LISTEN SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO SEE SHERLOCK AND YOU CANNOT WAIT TIL IT COMES TO MERKA OK?

I’ve decided this post really is a celebration of instant gratification. I promise I like some slow things, too. Like…um…roasts. And kissing. And…um…slow lorises.

SLOW LORIS!!!

SLOW LORIS!!!

HOW WE USED TO BUY THINGS

Too bad for YOU if you lived in a small town with only a KMart! THAT IS WHERE YOU BOUGHT YOUR THINGS. Also sometimes you could mailorder some things from Sears. That was it. Our lives were all about the things we wanted but knew we would never ever have. YOU HAD NOTHING AND YOU LIKED IT.

HA HA NOT NOW SUCKERS! You want it, you find it online, you buy it. Well, if you can afford it, I suppose. NOTHING IS BEYOND OUR GRASP.

It makes me kind of sad that people growing up have always HAD these things. I’m not saying I want people to suffer through adversity or anything, just that it’s a lot easier to appreciate these things when you grew up with technology that barely worked, if ever, and it was so stinkin’ SLOW.

I realize that in writing this I sound like a cranky old person saying “back in MY day” and I suppose I kind of am. Don’t even care. I just think of sad lonely little young-Amy scribbling a million letters to faraway loved ones and waiting waiting waiting for responses and I so wish she could see this. She’d love this. She would be VERY pleased with this future.

Also she’d be very keen on precooked bacon. Can’t blame her, really. It is kind of the best. THANK YOU FUTURE!

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

39 responses to “I’ve seen the future, and you are it.

  • Charleen

    I kind of sort of almost liked using the microfiche the couple times I had to do it, because it made me feel like a “real scholar” because this was how “real scholars” did their work.

    But only kind of sort of, and it lost its novelty pretty quickly.

    Also, I think the fact that our phones are little computers now is probably the best thing about living in the future. Because everything we can do now online, we could mostly do five years ago . . . but we couldn’t do it EVERYWHERE. (Okay smartphones probably existed five years ago too, if you were an uber leet early adopter, but they are way cooler now.)

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Totally agreed. I will never get over how cool it is that I can bring my email/Twitter/Facebook/Google with me everywhere I go, probably no matter how long I have the phone. I am easily amused, apparently.

      Like

  • becomingcliche

    I had to do my college senior thesis using microfiche and those old fashioned bound magazines that had all the psych abstracts. The internet was available, but there just wasn’t much on it besides email and some nekkid people.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      All of my college work was microfiche (grad school, luckily, was mostly internet-research-based, so that was easier.) I remember hours and hours and HOURS of bending over that machine and being a slave to the research library hours and not finding what I needed and ARGH.

      I LOVE YOU INTERNET!

      Like

  • elaine4queen

    what has the slow loris got in it’s handses?

    Like

  • sj

    Awww, I think I kept the post office afloat after you passed on that particular mantle. Seriously, from around 1991 to 1998. <3

    Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I don’t know. I’m still disappointed. Just because the past was even worse it doesn’t naturally follow that this is the amazing future.

    Also, although I practically live on my smartphone, I still don’t like the puny screens and buggy software. And even Swype is a pretty crappy replacement for a physical keyboard. No, I’m still waiting for those cool VR-glasses that will allow you to view everything on a virtual 50″ stereo screen. Imagine getting virtual directions overlays a you walk in a foreign city, or real time subtitles when talking to someone who only speaks Mandarin. That’s the future.

    Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Re Fahrenheit: if you didn’t insist on using that arcane old brine-based temperature scale, you wouldn’t need any awkward online conversions.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Hee! Very true. Oh, Merka and its foolish brine.

      Like

      • Andreas Heinakroon

        Oh the folly of the brine-based economy.

        Like

        • lucysfootball

          I told Dad you were mocking Fahrenheit and he said, “You tell that Finn he’s an ABSOLUTE ZERO. Get it? Absolute zero? That was good temperature-based humor.” Then he said, “You shouldn’t let people make fun of our Fahrenheit. We invented that HERE. In AMERICA.” When I told him it was invented by a German, he was VERY UPSET and said it was some sort of socialist plot.

          Like

          • Andreas Heinakroon

            Oh, I love that! And you can say to your dad that I’d love to use Kelvin instead of Celsius, where absolute zero is actually – well, zero. (I want to say Kelvin was American, but unfortunately he was Irish-Scottish. And not even called Kelvin. Ah well, better than German, I guess.)

            Like

            • lucysfootball

              I’ll tell him that you want to use Kelvin. And he’ll say “OH THAT SPY AND ALSO MAN FROM THE LAND OF FINNS!”

              He also went on a ranty rant about why you all use the metric system. I won’t go into detail as it was offensive to pretty much everyone who doesn’t live in Merka. Also, he said, “Oh, you tell him to go buy a LITER of gas. No, seriously! Amy! They don’t even buy gallons there! THEY BUY LITERS!” and I said, “Um, yeah, I know, Dad” and he said “Oh, well, YOU TELL HIM THAT.”

              So, I guess go buy a liter of gas, Andreas, Dad has deemed you must.

              Like

  • Samantha

    It is refreshing to see a post that is praising the positives of technology rather than denouncing the woes of it. *applauds* :D

    Like

  • Heather

    Technology is cool (don’t get me wrong, I love technology), but reading your post made me a bit nostalgic for the way things used to be. I still write letters, and I’m not sure that having “things” to purchase right at our fingertips is the best thing ever. Sigh. I’m not one of those people who sits around and pouts about how much I miss the old days, but sometimes I do miss them.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I still write letters, too. As often as I can, actually. But for the most part, I love our future. I’m very instant-gratificationy. The sooner I can get things, the better. Patience might be a virtue, but it’s not one I was born with, that’s for sure.

      Like

  • lgalaviz

    Sometimes I miss card catalogs. I love it when the libraries are in the old movies with their card catalogs. Like Breakfast Club. And Breakfast at Tiffanies. Now I am wondering how many more movies with the word ‘breakfast’ in the title also have scenes with card catalogs. This CAN’T be a coincidence.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Hmm. This is a good point and probably needs further investigation.

      I also miss card catalogs. You can buy things made from the cards and I come across them once and a while and smile.

      Like

  • Kris Rudin (@krisrudin)

    Wait – FULLY COOKED BACON??!? Why was I not aware of this??!?

    And is it actually good??

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I mean, it’s not as good as bacon you cook yourself (although if you warm it up just a little in the microwave it gets pretty crispy) but it’s so handy! And you don’t have to dirty any frying pans!

      Like

  • Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd

    I used to write notes to my friends, who I saw and spoke to every single day in school. I’d go to class, write a note, and the give it to my friend between classes. I bet if I read those notes today they would be the most boring shit ever. What could have possibly happened in the five minutes I hadn’t seen my friend to be worth writing about?

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      ME TOO! And I think mine were about “ZOMG! I saw *insert crush object of the week’s name here* in the HALL and he LOOKED AT ME or maybe KIND OF IN MY GENERAL DIRECTION so I think he probably LOVES ME SO MUCH DON’T YOUUUUU?”

      Future Pulitzer material, right there.

      Like

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