recently i saw and heard an elderly woman on a very new looking macbook air listening without headphones to something or someone screeching. perhaps a video of a grandchild. i was thinking that the elderly of that generation usually talk about manners and the way things were and wondered where her headphones were. but i also hear about the idea that they have lived long enough so they can do and get away with almost any damn thing they want. betty white’s new show, assuming it is still on, plays on this idea at times. grandma and her eccentricities.
as i age tick by tick on my life’s clock i am beginning to glimpse the light at the end of my tunnel. so now as i look rearwards, not my ass but in the past, i begin (continue) my own “i remember when” seeing how things are today. watching these freshman college students i stare in disbelief. they must be younger and shorter than when i went. they look like they are barely out of middle school.
i also remember when it was acceptable to let a phone call go through to voicemail, my old at&t mini-cassette answering machine back then. i could hear the message as it was recording and decide if i wanted to pick up. not the idea that i am supposed to be obligated to answer my phone when someone calls now. i could also call in and check messages but the trick was to find a payphone or someone’s landline to use. pocket change with just a quarter or my debit calling card was all I needed. the machine had a neat feature that allowed me to activate the microphone and hear what was going on in the room. sneaky roommates with people over that shouldn’t be there were busted.
to come home and see the slow blink of the red light indicating new messages filled my heart with joy and pleasure knowing i was wanted. now i dread the voicemail notification icon on my cellphone. i actually am required to hit one button to make it dial and log in and play the message. easier and more convenient for me for sure but less… poetic. people still get mad when i don’t pick up my phone. the phone is my tool to access the world, not the world’s instant access to me.
uh oh. i think that was future crotchety old self paying an early visit.
bluetooth ear buds instead of large and uncomfortable foam headphones. the foam always seeing to rip so quickly. nowadays i can ride my motorcycle and listen to the radio or music and answer a phone call if it comes through.
i can stream itunes to just about every room in the house with airport expresses or apple tvs and play videogames across two monitors with graphics that rival hollywood cgi (back in the day when the computer was still new at least), although i enjoy listening to my record player (those old large black cd looking things for you young folk). i’m loving my new acquisition of rhapsody in blue that was pressed a while ago. not the best version as there is some hiss and pop (see wikipedia) but on a 7.1 system i feel i’m in the front of the orchestra listening to a live performance. i want to upgrade my player but that is on the future todo list. maybe a nice rega one. i look forward to getting a 128gb retina ipad mini at some point in the next few months as well to see my pictures on the go and control my apple devices. most of my paper books are now on my kindle keyboard. i tried the new 2nd gen paperwhite but my old eyes must like the old ways because my old nonlit kindle seems sharper than the new paperwhite with a higher dpi. the paperwhite was just harder to read from.
the plane and car can get me where i need but my feet, bicycle and motorcycle keep me connected to the here and now. the slow train if i have the time can be a pleasurable way to travel as well. forced to slow down and relax i might actually smell the roses as it were, seeing what is around me instead of zooming past in a hurry.
time. this is what it is about. this perception that there isn’t enough of it. enough of what though? we race forward trying to find anti-aging things. we mourn the death of others and selfishly get angry with their removal from our lives. we hurry hurry hurry and then look back at what we haven’t done instead of having done it when we had the chance the first time. whether i believe in an afterlife or not or recincarnaton or whatever idea, i only have this moment to be and do. i need to/can choose to figure out what if anything i want to do or accomplish before my end.
There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.” –from Kung Fu Panda
-Santa’s Fallen Angel
(p.s. i also originally wrote this with a fountain pen.)