I’m not entirely sure why my perception of life is so nostalgic. I long for the days of specifically 90’s and early 2000’s. More specifically when the cell phone was a brick with an antenna as seen on F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
My grand father had a favorite song by Joe Walsh called Analog Man. “The whole world’s living in a digital dream. It’s not really there. It’s all on a screen.” And man, when I sit back and think about it, how much more disconnected can we get. Furthermore, how much bullying, poor body image, life threatening “challenges”, Hoax’s, self editing can we experience? I can never lead it off by saying “back in my day…” I’m 21 years old. But I swear there was a point where something felt…different…
I got my first cell phone from my dad when I was 12 years old. I put games on it first hand. I played Subway surfer when you could hook it up to Facebook. I got the highest score and was playing it every night afterschool for a good 4 or 5 hours. My eyes were burning red but it was so much fun.
Then I got face book. My first profile photo at 12 years old was a turtle that looked like a sandwich. Then everyone at school got a phone at a point and if you didn’t have one, you were considered weird. Since it’s what everyone did in the lobby before school started was scroll through social media. So if you didn’t have a phone you had a diary of a wimpy kid or some book. Or perhaps a friend who still had a flip phone.
I made far more memories before a 3 x 6 inch display controlled hours of my free time. Memories I still remember as “The good ol’ days.”
Scenario one: Cookouts in my Grandmas back yard. I cannot swear to it but grandmas are the glue that keeps family together. My mom would drive out 25 miles to my grandmas every weekend.
The memories are as follows… making my mom a cranberry-vodka with what I’m assuming now had 90% vodka. Throwing myself a summertime birthday party even though my birthdays in January but I had cupcakes and presents and a cook out.
Alice Cooper, Led Zepplen, Back street Boys, Alan Jackson, tom petty. We had a kiddy pool that my uncle fell in one night. And someone also back into with the car. Calling the smoke “white rabbits”.
Grandma had old Beach chairs, I made a bed on and napped while I could see the stars above the trees. Someone standing ever so boldly out in the woods in the dead of the night acting like they were gonna fight a bear. Because we heard something.
My grandma had a fugi camera with film. The grown ups played poker in the pop out camper. Heater going. The green table that folded up. My grand father and I would be awake past anyone else outside. He used to tell me stories until the sun came up and the birds were chirping. Then it was time for me to get in the 12 person cabin tent and sleep until 2pm under afagans and wool. My grandpa found a table in the woods when he and my grandma moved in and he wheeled it to the trailer and he had his radio on it KLT Omelette & Finster in the morning. He had his brown coffee mug. A flannel and sweat pants, socks, and sandals.
The trees we’re greener than ever. All the back yard was dirt. But he and I would sit out in those white plastic lawn chairs. (You know the ones) I still hear the birds, the river out back, KLT, coals still burning out, mosquitos and flies. Those weekends when school was out are memories I treasure. My mom straightened my grandpas hair.
Grandmas chihuahua coco used to put a basket ball next to his ear and roll it beside him while he ran. He played fetch with tennis balls too. I used to ride my bike around the trailer a hundred times.
I Wrote down my salary for my big teaching dream until I got my bubble burst with taxes. Cannot imagine this beautiful childhood if my parents were on their screens all night and my brothers and I at that. Or calling it a night early to go inside and watch TV.
My family happened to stay awake until 2am dancing around the bonfires with hoodies and crickets chirping.
Senario two: In my later teenage years, I started to have more and more friends and friends started to get vehicles. I had been working at McDonald’s for 2 or 3 years. So I had my own money and so my friends and I went out a lot.
We Played guitar hero at 3am, walked around town with a cotton candy pink sunrise. Drove around the backroads at 4am listening to black bear. The sunroof open. Iced coffees as soon as McDonald’s opened. I had my nails done constantly on My own with the glue, polish and french tips. Rode my bike through town. The sunrise became my favorite thing. My friends and I skipped school together. Not a suggestion. But we tried on dresses at the thrift store, got coffee, just walked all day through the park and sometimes it would rain super hard.
Life is not bad now. Not at all. But there’s always “The Good Ol’ Days. When skin was tanner, dancing was lighter, grills were lit every weekend, and smiles were freely given and tiny conversations that meant the world. There are a lot of blessings. Still a whole lot to be thankful for. But things aren’t the same. But that’s why we can’t take any moment for granted. Life is like a river. You never touch the same water twice.