Before My Computer
I found myself without a computer this week. While waiting for my computer to recover from its grave illness, I had time to ponder what I did before technology took root in my daily routine. Here is a list of a few key activities that have faded from the American way:
- The Video Store Each week I visited our neighborhood Movietimeand rented a stack of movies. I had a special device for rewinding my watched VHS tapes. We were collectively convinced that the act of rewinding would prematurely wear out our VCRs. My sleek Corvette shaped tape rewinder had headlights that turned on during the act of rewinding. Those who chose to return their rented videos without rewinding them faced possible penalties and bad karma. The gentle reminder, “Be Kind, Please Rewind” was affixed to each video to encourage everyone to do the right thing.
- Travel Agencies Planning a trip took months and involved a visit to a travel agency or correspondence to a travel bureau. Who wanted to spend part of their vacation running down maps or hotels with availability? Sending away for brochures or allowing a travel agent to pimp your vacation were the smart ways to plan ahead.
- Waiting for My Photographs to “Come Back” Making photos wasn’t cheap. Photographers were forced to ask if the situation was worth paying for a disposable flashbulb, film and development. There was also an investment of time and effort. The wait for photo printing was usually five or more days and archiving the resulting film negative was a lifelong commitment.
Reading “The Green Sheet” Initially, my family subscribed to the TV Guide. Eventually this was considered a waste, since we had a special section of newspaper devoted to the television programming schedule. If someone accidentally threw out "The Green Sheet", they were shamed by the rest of the family for ruining the entire week. How would we know if there was a special one hour episode of Alf if we didn’t have "The Green Sheet"? This was critical for the times we could get the VCR to stop bl
inking 12:00 am and wanted to record something important, like The Dukes of Hazard Christmas Special, so that we could keep it forever.
If you want to hear about how we cooked hotdogs and popcorn before the invention of the microwave, please email me directly. Thank you, Geeksquad, for replacing my computer’s video card before I had a chance to further digress.