Times have changed, I've gotten older, and as I stare at a proposal for a new furnace to replace the one in our garage that is apparently just moments away from killing us all in our sleep, I'm inspired to think back to a simpler time. A time before cell phones and sodium restrictions and central heating that they tell me requires regular maintenance. A time of wonder and innocence.
A few things I miss:
- The smell of a card catalog. I can't describe it - and I was probably allergic to it - but I miss it.
- Eating an entire pizza and not really thinking much about it. Although if I'd thought about it then, I perhaps wouldn't have to think about it nearly as much now.
- Wondering about things. There is no more mystery; now you can Google anything. Granted, what you learn from the Internet might be utter rubbish, but at least you can pretend it didn't come from your own head. Unless you are my friend Ben who updates Wikipedia to include stuff he makes up.
- Going for long drives. Considering that the price of gas is around 16-20 cents a mile (in my vehicles), you have to really want to go somewhere. And, yes, I do think of quick drives to the store in terms of how much the gas will cost me. I'm an accountant!
- Photocopying body parts. Nobody does this any more because it's wasteful. It's sad. I remember all those lovely black and white printouts of smooshed faces and hands and I weep that my kids may never do something so silly. Oh, who am I kidding? Kids can always find new ways to be silly.
- Writing letters. There used to be something so exciting about going to the mailbox, wondering what news it will bring. Now the most exciting thing the mailbox brings are bills that I haven't managed to pay electronically A lot of magazines are even going digital, abandoning the post office, which is left sadly delivering piles of junk mail. There must be hardly any postcards for the mailmen to read any more.
- Experimenting with Jell-O. Okay, I'm lying. I don't miss this at all, and I'm glad that it mostly died in the 80s. My mom used to fill orange-flavored Jell-O with grated carrot (I'm guessing because they are both orange). It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't terribly good, either. (I love you, Mom!) I'm just glad she didn't ever do meaty aspic.
Whenever I make lists like this, I'm struck by how few things I actually miss and how silly most of them are. The truth is that a lot of the changes are good. For example, email is a great way to communicate - fast, free, and easy to attach pictures to. And I didn't actually need a photocopy of my cheek, anyway.
So I will be thankful for what I have, accept the inevitable furnace replacement along with the rest of my adult responsibilities, and leave you with one important lesson: Remember to change your furnace filters!