Thursday, March 1, 2012

Am I just getting old, or what?

So yesterday afternoon (it's currently 6am, and I'm sitting in IHOP with a cuppa that's kept filled by one of the waitresses here who know me by name because I'm That much of a regular at this place on this shift) my buddy Eric comes by for a few minutes to see how things are going, borrow my washer & dryer long enough to toss a couple of things in rather than take 'em to a laundrymat (can't say as I blame him on that one) and simply hang for a bit.  While he was over, he did a bit of internet searching via his smartphone. 

First, I keep thinking about how things were when I got my very first ever home computer.  Things were not like they are now.  I feel like a dinosaur a Lot these days, when watching (or listening to) the 20somethings and teenagers.  There were no Smartphones with touch screens and more computing power in your POCKET than what we used to take us to the MOON when I was still an infant.  Hell, there were no Cell Phones at all - it was a land line or nothing at all.  I remember when Car phones first hit the market - actually hooked To the car, piss poor reception which only worked in city limits - but didn't work downtown because the tall buildings interfered with the signal. 

Anyway - first computer?  Oh yeah.  Commodore 64, external 1200 Baud modem, hard drives didn't even Exist, black and white monitor, 5 1/4 floppy (again, external) and a cassette tape drive which I eventually Upgraded to an external 3 1/2 floppy.  I even Eventually managed to upgrade my modem to a blazing 2400 baud just around the time that 9600 bauds were first being introduced for IBM (only - not clones, just the real thing.)  I remember all the raging debates that took place on the local BBSes when the first 20 Meg hard drives came out for IBM, and then Clones shortly after that.  We all SWORE that no one would Ever be able to fill a Whole Twenty Megs!  OMG that's just more space than anyone will Ever need, Right?  RIGHT??

The switch from Car phones to bulky backpack "Mobile" phones.  Crappy reception, expensive enough that you felt like you were mortgaging your firstborn, but a Huge symbol of Status and being Up on Tech for it's day.  It was a few years before we went from that to what started eventually looking like current Cellphones.

And all this has been during my Adult years - not simply my lifetime.  Oh no, this has all taken place since I was in high school.  And it just keeps going apace, forward ever forward.

What brought on this particular bout of nostalgia?  It was what Eric happened to stumble across while searching the interwebz for something completely unrelated.  It seems that yet another musical icon of my infancy and childhood is gone.  This time Davey Jones, face man and lead singer of the 60s group The Monkees.  I grew up lusting after him - before I even knew what "lust" was. 

The Monkees were a rather Unique music group from that era.  Rather than being comprised of a bunch of friends who all happened to play and sing, and one of them being a halfway decent songwriter and/or lyricist - none of the members of the Monkees knew each other at all until the group was formed.  They each auditioned for a part in a TV comedy series, which was meant to poke a bit of fun at the Beatles and other such 60s icon groups who were so incredibly popular at the time.  They were chosen, and actually met Because they were part of the show.  What no one expected, when the group was thrown together for the show, was that they would all be so incredibly talented, or mesh together as a single whole quite so well.  Nor did anyone expect the group to become so wildly popular on the stage as a music group in it's own right, rather than simply as part of the cast of a TV sitcom.

Davey's death hasn't been the only loss of one of my childhood icons during the recent past.  More and more of them are going the way of the dinosaur, dying off in what seems to be a mass extinction event during the past 5 years.

My childhood is rapidly dying and becoming a thing not even of memory - just half forgotten fairy tales and pleasant myths of the past.  Technology is moving at a pace I can barely keep up with - and I'm at least moderately tech savvy, for someone over the age of 25 who isn't specifically in a high tech computer field for work. 

When did the clock move forward so far?  When did all this Grey start showing up in my mirror?  (For that matter, when did I start looking in the mirror and seeing my mother, rather than ME?  She was a wonderful, witty, intelligent, strong, capable woman - but I never wanted to be anyone other than Myself.  She's dead and gone this past 10 years, and long since turned to wormfood.  She needs to stay that way, and let me start seeing ME in the mirror again rather than echos and shades of Her.)

Am I getting old?  Naaaaaaaaaaah... couldn't be.

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