I once bought a book download….but I only got through a few pages of it. I didn’t like having it on a screen. I couldn’t feel the paper. I didn’t get a chance to break the spine. It didn’t have that “book” smell. I couldn’t fold down the corners….flip back and forth easily….or highlight and underline.
As much as much my job requires a tremendous amount of technology and social media…..I feel like I’m starting to regress. For example…I’ve been keeping my eye out for a rotary wall phone with a super long cord….one that will wrap around the kitchen island as I’m making dinner….one I can wrap myself up in. Napoleon Dynamite had one….so I need one.
Me: Hey, at least I’d be able to find the phone for once.
Mr. LBB: We have three wireless phones….how do you manage to lose all of them?
You know why I lose all of them? Because they aren’t attached to the wall. And do you know why they aren’t attached to the wall? Because life keeps speeding up….every day…..faster and faster so if it was attached to the wall I wouldn’t be able to keep up, right?
As much as I love innovation…..sometimes I wish we didn’t have so much innovation. I wish we didn’t have cordless phones, Ziploc bags and Netflix. I wish we didn’t have 400 kinds of cereal to choose from. I wish there weren’t so many crappy toys from China. I wish video games had never progressed past Pong.
….and sometimes I wish we didn’t have smartphones or iPads or tablets……
I look at all the stuff we buy and own and wonder if any of it will be handed down to another generation…..will any of it be around in 100 years. Probably not.
I do try and make a conscious effort not to be too dependent on technology……
I still use my paper calendar. I still keep all my addresses and contacts in a paper notebook.
I still write a lot…yes actually write…..with a pen and paper.
I stock up on classic games like Life and Monopoly (and not the crazy themed versions).
I take Boo into antique shops whenever we get the chance….I show her those vintage hand mixers, record players and 8 track tapes. Even a VHS tape is an enigma to her. I imagine the future sometimes like the movie Book of Eli and I think how prepared Boo will be with all the old contraptions she’d stumble across. (Don’t worry I haven’t made her start memorizing the Good Book yet).
And then I think about the fact that she’s never heard a busy signal or the ring of a rotary phone or a film projector or a typewriter.
Except now she DOES know the sound of a typewriter. Our friend Bonnie gave us this one when Mr. LBB mentioned I was on a search:
Boo: This is the best invention since the computer.
Heck yeah….no swiping needed to activate. And you get to choose from a variety of ONE font.
But this one still has to plug in….so I’m on the hunt for an older one.
Okay so it’s going to take a little practice as she learns to type……I showed Boo the ropes by making a quick little list. I realized I am WAY too dependent on spell check.
On my wish list….a pretty red typewriter like this one:
Love this USB Typewriter Video. I love the Typewriter Warehouse part mostly. I asked Mr. LBB how that old man could possible make a living selling typewriters. How many could he possible sell?
“The danger in always wanting the latest and greatest gadget, is that you can forget about technologies that are older and even obsolete that still might have value today. The typewriter is on the verge of going extinct. Almost no one makes typewriters anymore.”
I’d been thinking about getting a typewriter for a while now….I thought about it every time I saw my grandmother’s charm bracelet hanging next to my bathroom mirror. (Oh, before I forget….remember how you’d push down all the typewriter keys at once and they’d get stuck. And you’d have to peel the stack apart one by one? That was awesome.) Anway, all of her charms signified an important part of her life in the 1940’s….and just looking at it you can see how times have changed. I let Boo guess what 3 and 4 were…..her answers: a pizza cutter paintbrush and a see-saw for ants.
1. Vintage Folding Film Camera
2. Baby Pram
3. Circular Typewriter Eraser & Brush
4. Cigarette Lighter
6. Bible with the Lord’s Prayer
The royal road to the future for a young woman starts at the secretary’s desk. From it, as a base of operations, she can campaign for an eligible male in her vicinity or for advancement in her position. First, however, she has to be a successful secretary to stay at the desk long enough to accomplish either of both of these goals.
“A Secretary Is Set to Wed or Get Ahead”
New York Times, April 23, 1956
Ok so even though I’m nostalgic…. I AM glad there are a few more job choices available now for women….
My grandmother failed typing class….I’m pretty sure typing skills are genetic.
You know what I really miss? The surprise that comes with developing 24 exposures on a roll of film. Remember when you took one photo at a time….and you really didn’t remember what you captured until you opened up that envelope from the film lab? Remember when it took a little over a week to get your photos back? Cray. Z.
I watched that Sally Mann documentary What Remains again recently….she lugs that huge antique 8×10 bellows camera out with her…. and those glass negatives. And I’m in awe all over again. Imagine the effort just for one photo. Her success was before the Internet.…I remember learning about her in photography class by slideshow (like real slides….in a carousel). I thought her photography was freakin’ amazing. It never registered as something even close to pornography….and the Internet has pretty much ruined that….because, well…..that’s what people associate child nudity with now. If you send a photo of your child topless to one hour photo you’ll probably be arrested and on the front page of Daily Mail.
“It never occurred to me to leave home to make art.”
A close friend of mine and her family are traveling the world this summer…..amazing destinations like Thailand, Bali, Dubai, Japan, etc. Her husband happens to be a professional photographer…who recently retired. I asked him if he was going to take a camera along to document these amazing places. He said no…..and pointed to his head: it’s all in here. I thought that was pretty incredible……to just absorb every little thing….to allow yourself to be fully present on a trip around the world. I could use some of that.
When my dad died we found thousands of photos on his computer from trips he’d taken……95% of it was scenery. We kept only the ones that had someone we knew in the frame. At Disneyland recently we shared a boat with 2 guys who recorded the entire It’s a Small World Ride…..and then they complained that they didn’t have any more memory left for the rest of their day. I kind of wanted to ask them if they’d actually been able to see the ride focused in on that tiny little screen the whole time. I think about that a lot now when I’m taking a photo or video: have I had a chance to observe….see where I am?
Oh what I’d give for film again….and more accessible Polaroid….among other things. Sometimes I think maybe I was born in the wrong time period. My sister says the same thing. I think it would just be great to be unreachable for a while without having to explain that I left my cell phone somewhere or that the battery ran out. Or to be able to leave the phone off the hook so there was a busy signal……
And I worry about Boo and technology….that she’ll be a little technology drone. You know why? Because sometimes I’m a technology drone myself. Sometimes I’ll be reading my phone and I don’t hear her ask me for something THREE times. And she usually calls me out on it: Well, you didn’t hear me because you were looking at your phone. You could put the phone down you know. I gave her my old phone for a few days and now I’ve taken it away until further notice. Why? Because I noticed an immediate change in her personality: i.e. she was void of it. It’s made me be more aware of myself now with my phone since observing her.
I wish things would slow down. Or maybe I just have to slow down…..and let the world keep on it’s own trajectory. It’s hard not to worry about keeping up. There’s so much emphasis on immediate gratification. (We used to wait over a week for photos?!)
The last few nights we’ve spent with no TV with our noses buried in books. Boo worked on some embroidery this evening and was so proud of herself. I feel like we got our bearings again….something we need to do a little more often.
I’m the first to admit that my phone has been almost physically attached to my body the last few years….but the more I try to leave it aside, the easier it gets. I set it aside an hour. Then 2 hours…and every once in a while I can go an entire day without looking at it. Of course then I get all the messages:
are you okay?
WHERE ARE YOU?
sending this again in case you didn’t get it.
Did my text come through?
So what do you think? Are we too dependent on technology? Or are all the advances what we need in this day and age…..
P.S. If you text me and I don’t text back immediately…..it might be because I’m replying via typewriter…..
P.P.S. Make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter.…it’s where I give my weekly rundown. Your info is safe with me…..never shared with anyone else…..promise. I don’t spam. Promise.
You know that society has a problem when we have a camp for adults where they aren’t allowed technology just to try to get them to unplug, where people gathered in a room don’t know how to talk because they are so focused on their phones or when kids can’t make things up because they can only play their favorite tv shows and movies. More action and less story. Watch the old superman movie (christopher Reeve of course) vs the new superman now in the theaters. I think the script must be1/3rd the words. Wow – we need to be careful or our next generation won’t have their own dreams.
I hear you! I’m also sorry, because we received a typewriter very similiar to that one (but in blue) when we bought this house. If I had known that you would be posting about this five years later, I might have kept it! 🙂 People look at me funny when I tell them I don’t have a cell phone….but I haven’t found a need for it yet, other than wishing I had one one long road trips in case my car broke down…..
When I get home from work on Fridays my phone disappears. I use our ipad for teaching at piano lessons all the time, but I own a flip phone. I used to have a typewriter (and yes, I also used to press down all the keys at once too), but my parents baited and switched it with a word processor when they found out I was using it for college assignments. I had a laptop but it just didn’t inspire me.
I think if we keep in mind that technology is a tool and an aid, it is easier to accept that different people will have different preferences.
Christina @ Homemade Ocean says
Love this. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS. Every word of it 🙂
When I was in middle school we didn’t have a computer, I was seriously the only person in my English class without one and when my teacher asked “Does anyone here not have access to a computer?” there was NO way I was raising my hand. Anyhow, I ended up typing up that paper on a typewriter. I got hungry so I grabbed a can of crushed pineapple and kept typing away. Of course, I put the can down right next to the typewriter and when I hit ‘return’ thing paper holder thing shot back and flung crushed pineapple all over my living room! Oh goodness that was the funniest thing ever 🙂
This really speaks to me. I’m trying to become more minimalist and REAL and less reliant on technology. It is hard! My husband thinks he cannot function without the TV on (even for “background noise”) and my phone is always nearby. I had to take dictation for a trial recently at my job and I noticed how terrible my handwriting had become. Yep… this inspires me to try harder; to disconnect and focus on my five senses and what’s happening around me.
Oh I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m thankful for the technology, but I hate it. There are many more days then not that I hate Iphones came out, ipads, etc. Love the typewriter idea. I remember having one as a kid. I need to get Emma one, she’d love it!
I so agree with everything you just said. I guess I’m a little slow to get into all of the technology. I just got a smart phone several months ago. No games, no music on it yet. Actually, games will never be on it, cause I don’t like playing games on a phone.
Elisa F. says
I don’t own a mobile phone. (I had one for about 6 months 7 years ago.) I just have the one phone connected to the wall with a long cord.
I live amongst the Microsofties, Nintendoites and Amazonians here in Seattle, so I’m a walking freak show – I’ve grown to love the gasps I get when someone asks for my mobile number.
You really, really, really don’t need it. What in the heck was wrong with 1985? I’ve set people’s expectations to know that I can’t be reached 24/7 and I won’t respond instantly. Yes, I have kids, 10 and 16, and I know what you’re thinking – what if there’s an emergency?!!! Well, I’ll handle it like our mothers did.
There was study released recently that found just the presence of a mobile phone in the room – not even in someone’s hand – greatly diminished the depth of conversations. There was always lurking in the back of the participants minds the possibility that the phone would vibrate – because you know, that’s so much more polite than a ring – and you can’t very well spill your guts if in the middle of it the other person takes a call or checks a text.
Just baby steps, people. Really think about if the technology is serving you or you’re serving the technology. Try getting rid of one thing just for a day, or make one room in your house a techno-free zone.
Every once in a while when my kids have friends over, I’ll run into the room and scream “1979!!!!!” and they can only do things that were available in 1979.
Jennifer :: Creative Scatter says
I very much agree with this post! My mom refuses to use the cordless mouse her iMac came with, “Are you kidding? I will lose it! I need the cord to wrangle it back in!”
I have a soft spot for typewriters. When I was about 12, I convinced my mom to buy me a typewriter. I loved the way it sounded when you hit the letters.
I wish I could be unreachable sometimes. I hate that there is such an expectation to reply to messages and phone calls immediately. One time I accidentally left my phone when I went out for a nice country drive. I got back and had a mass of missed calls and messages because people thought I was missing. Really?! I was gone for an hour, calm down!
It’s all so so true!! Time passed much more slowly than now. It feels like we’re obligated to be reachable 24/7. So much unwanted stress!!!
Hello. Last night I was telling to my cousin about pictures. When I was young, pictures were taken on occasions. So, we would get on the same film, pictures from Christmas, Easter, birthdays for one complete year. And we would keep all the pictures, beautiful or not because this is the way it was. No photoshop when I was young. I am 53 years old
This article is very interesting and so so true. I just got a iPhone and I now understand the attraction of this invention. I try not to look at it every 5 minutes!
Ashley Hackshaw says
Oh yes Elise….that is so true. I love the way you put that. Thank you 🙂
Stephanie in MI says
I bought a circa 1930s typewriter for my daughter to work with. She likes to practice her spelling words on it.
I used to love to push all of the typewriter keys together and then peel them apart. My first typewriter was a Christmas present when I was probably about 12 and it was a used one that was only capital letters. I wish I still had it. Thank you for making me remember.
I still wish for the very old typewriter that we had when I was little.( I’ve toyed with the idea of getting one too). Are there ribbons & correction tape still being made? I don’t miss the hassle of revisions/retyping but I did like using correction tape! Remember carbon paper and mimeograph machines at school?
Re:phones– I still love to just play with the dial when I come across an old phone (the older the better!).LOVE the feel of it as you dial, and the sound of it clicking back into place and the sound of the ringing……
My grandfather had a huge hand crank adding machine & I used to love just pushing the buttons (can you tell I love mechanical things?) I also remember the huge hair dryer we had when I was little–a box with a hose that attached to a shower cap & it took a long time to dry (no blowdryers!) I really like that bobby pins are popular, I remember pinning up damp hair at night, then combing out the curls in the morning!
I miss: knobs to turn on the radio,(not fond of digital keypads) and hand crank car windows, the little triangular vent windows cars used to have, mechanical watches and egg beaters and books of matches (just to name a few) 🙂
I once read an article by a father. His daughter had been practicing the stilts. One day out in the garden she finally managed to walk the whole yard on her stilts, but her father didn’t see it, he was too concerned with reading the news on his phone … and he will never experience that first time for her ever again …
This article has had me thinking so many times! I will only have my girls little for a short time, and I don’t want them to feel like my phone or computer is more important than them.
On another note, you should be living in Norway … we do not have 1000 different cereals, only 10 🙂
Great post, Ashley. These thoughts are constantly on my mind, and lately I’ve been especially convicted by the “absence of self” I feel around my kids because of my phone. I find myself looking forward 5-10 years, imagining my boys acting in kind, and I realize that I need to set a better example for NOW and for THEN.
Ok everything you wrote, so true and blah blah blah. 😉 But the gem of this post…,when the typewriter keys got stuck and you had to peel them apart!!! So so awesome!! 🙂
That was a long post! But I agree. I have read every Jane Austen book and I love how they “retire to the drawing room” after dinner every night. There, women draw, play piano, write poetry, and men talk and smoke cigars and read stories and poetry. Sometimes after dinner, I wish we could all retire to the drawing room. So much fun to connect with Loved ones in that way. And think of all of the poetry and novels you could read as a family!
I know exactly how you feel! I’ll constantly tell my family that I needed to be born in the 1780’s or 90’s! I want to go back to England during the Regency era to live like they did for a while! “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: O no! It is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bleeding sickle’s compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.” ~William Shakespeare: Sonnet 116 (quoted in Sense & Sensibility *the movie…)
I loved every word. There’s a big difference between nostalgia and wishing for a simpler, saner world.
I absolutely LOVE typewriters! I wish I got mine out more often… The click click clicking of the keys as you type, then the little ding once you’ve gotten to the end of the line! I *still* love to press all of the keys down at once, and also press the spacebar until that little ding comes… I am super nostalgic about stuff, and I’m only 20. I was totally born in the wrong era! I prefer to wear full period colonial/regency/Victorian/Edwardian clothing, and am somewhat bad about dealing with most technology! I went to the mall today and told my mom that I wish they had stairs in Macy’s… Why? Because I stepped onto the escalator, but had part of my foot on the crack that separates into the steps… I almost went crashing down the escalator! Even the elderly couple in front of me had an easier time than I did! (btw, today I ignored my phone for 99% of the day! I really think I need to disconnect more often…)
I’m calling my mom and seeing if they still have the old suitcase typewriter I once found in our old barn and used for an entire summer.
I love this post – really spoke to me.
We have turned the TV off, too. My son gets to play now…or read…no more TV. It’s been a couple weeks but we’ve already noticed a difference in his demeanor.
And what you wrote about Boo talking to you and you being entranced by your phone? It’s happened to me a couple of times and it’s disheartening. I never wanted to be that mom yet here I was doing what I hated.
The more I use the internet, the more I dislike it. And I’m only 23.
Oh this is so true! I sooo agree. As much as technology can be so convenient I so wish things were how they were back in the old days. Things seemed so much more simpler. I also think I should of been born in a different time period 🙂 You try to disconnect and not have all the latest and greatest but then people wonder about you…I too get text messages “Are you OK?’ Sometimes you just need to disconnect!
When I worked for IBM(International Business Machines) in 1974, I sold the firsts of the IBM Correcting Selectic typewriter which had a key to back-up and erase the mistake and then allow one to hit the correct without moving the ink tape. Your grandfather had the old black first typewriter when he worked for
I thought I would never see the day that it would be thought of as ancient! I am so glad that you care about such things….it is all ancient history!! mom