Another holiday season is coming to an end. I’ve been listening to NPR in the car, and there have been several “Best of 2013”, “Most Interesting of 2013”, “Most Polarizing of 2013”, etc. lists going around. I’m ambivalent about all those lists. I hardly ever agree with the choices because I see events through a different lens than the authors of the lists, but I enjoy the reminders of the events that have taken place in just 365 short days. It’s surprising how much can happen in just a year.
But what’s been on my mind lately hasn’t been recent memories–it has been more distant memories, specifically those of my teenage years. Two things have prompted teenage reminiscing: my mom just got her first smart phone and my uncle found a copy of an old VHS tape of my dance recital from 1986.
I am excited that my mom got a smart phone. Now we can text, we can Facetime, she can try all these new apps. The phone paid for itself when she got to see my nieces and nephew on Facetime all the way across the country on Christmas Eve. Awesome.
And as my mom was asking me all these questions about her smart phone (as she was talking to me from her “land line”, as we call her home phone), I started to think about not having a home phone anymore. Matt and I don’t have a home phone, we each have mobile phones. You want to reach me, you call me. Want Matt, call his number. When I was growing up, however, you called a person’s house and you got whomever answered the phone. It was a crap shoot. And for a long time during my growing up years, an answering machine was nonexistent. No one home? Call back later, chump.
How do teenage girls do it these days? For me, the home phone was the key to maintaining hope. My mom wouldn’t let me or my sister call boys — “if they like you, they will call you. Ladies don’t call boys.” — so we had to rely on the boys to make the first telephonic move.
I didn’t have a lot (count any) boyfriends in my teen years, but had lots of crushes and wanted desperately for my crushes to call me on the phone. Thank goodness I grew up before smart phones because I totally relied on the “he must have called while I was gone” excuse. The “he has a sister that is always on the phone so he can’t use it to call me” rationale. The ever-popular “he’s not at home to call me” logic.
I was the teenage princess of denial, but I had the perfect tool to feed my delusion with the home phone, sans caller ID and voice mail, stuck to the wall somewhere in the house, totally not mobile.
I feel sorry for teenagers these days. There’s no way to create an illusion of “I missed his call” anymore. There are no more “missed calls” — the number and time and date of every call that came in is captured until deleted. There’s no way to call his house and hang up when he answers and not get busted anymore (I don’t think, but I don’t know all the rules). Everyone’s number and name (and sometimes their picture) pops up when they call you.
The only thing that you can’t hide is the fact that when they don’t call, you know that they don’t call. So sad. I’m sorry, all you teenagers. Technology’s not looking so great now, huh?
Then there was THE dance recital. My uncle found the VHS tape and I sent it off for conversion to DVD. Loved watching us dance to what we thought at the time was the greatest dance ever choreographed. A little sad to have another delusion exposed.
For your enjoyment, here’s a loop of me (in the middle), shaking it like I was 16. Hard to believe that I didn’t have a lot of boyfriends, right?