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Posts Tagged ‘aging’

You win. The old-fashioned letter is clearly dead. This was brought home a couple of days ago while driving the kids home from school. Boo announced she had learned a new song, and sang it for us: “I wrote a letter to my love and on the way I dropped it. A little doggy picked it up and put it in his pocket.” I remember learning this one in nursery school. She sang it about 74 times in a row, then paused and announced, “They didn’t make that song quite right, did they? It should be: ‘I wrote a number two my love ….’ because ‘two’ isn’t a letter, it’s a number.”

Maya and I laughed for quite some time, but she wasn’t offended, as we convinced her we were laughing at the absurdity of two being called a letter instead of a number. Then I tried to explain what a letter was. You write something on paper, put it in a envelop and mail it to someone. Really? Why? Isn’t emailing faster? What a bizarre concept – putting a letter in the mail. How quaint.

It got me on a roll, and I told the kids about what it was like back in the stone age, when the phone was attached to the wall and if someone phoned you, you didn’t know who it was until you answered it. And if you didn’t answer it, it just rang and rang until the other person hung up. And that was it. I told them about computers pre-Windows and how you had to remember the name of the program you wanted to run so you could write, “Run …” Better yet, there was the first home computer I ever saw, at a friend’s house, where you loaded a program using an actual tape cassette, so each game took about 20 minutes to load onto the computer. Then there was the typewriter, where if you made a mistake you had to backspace, blot out the wrong letter with white-out, wait until it dried, and then type over it. And to go to the next line, you pushed down the carriage return, physically slammed it back to the start of the line and kept writing. I remember when the electric typewriter was impressive.

The children had a good laugh and I felt old. I can’t figure out when my age is going to catch up to me –¬†when I am going to feel my age. It feels surreal to be telling my children stuff like this, the way my parents told me about their long and serious discussion over buying a caculator, which they eventually decided was worth the investment. Do old people ever really feel old, or do they just feel like the time has suddenly shifted on them when they didn’t quite realize it? Because that is how I feel. I didn’t have this problem when I was in my 20s. That felt like where I was supposed to be.

I asked Maya how old a new teacher of hers was, and she said, “I don’t really know – kinda old, like you.” I felt a wee bit grumpy about this until I took a good look in the mirror. I see lines around my mouth and drooping eyelids. I’m getting what could only be described as small liver spots on my cheekbones. I do look kinda old, which does not match my inner view of myself. Maybe that is why some people go nuts on cosmetic surgery, hair dye, make-up. Maybe they are just trying to get their outside image to match their inside image?

It is amazing where stream-of-consciousness ramblings will take you at 1:30 am …

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