Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your lifetime, which one do you miss the most?
I can’t say that I miss any of the old technologies, but I do experience a certain nostalgia when thinking of them in a certain contextual way. I remember my best friend Teri and I, hanging out in her living room playing her grandfather’s eight track cassettes, dancing to the music while the lights pulsed in time to the music and our dance moves. We had no idea that we were getting down to soon to be obsolete technology, we were happy and carefree.
I can move slightly down the timeline to the tough decision my parents made; invest in Betamax or VHS. Maybe it was because we were French; we went Betamax; if we had been living in Europe, we would have made the right choice. Oops wrong continent, we were living in New York. We lived with that bad decision for a long time.
Next obsolete piece of technology that completely passed me by, voluntarily, was the Sony Walkman. I remember taking the subway to both high school and college watching everyone sitting or standing listening to their Walkman’s and I never ever had any inclination to wanting to be part of that experience. There is something about having earbuds or earphones on my ears that is so uncomfortable that I can’t stand it for a second. Give me a book to pass the time on the subway, I’ll listen to my music at home.
I kind of miss the cassette tape; I remember making my own mixed tapes and the importance of receiving a mixed tape from that special someone, that was a really big deal. I remember getting excited when I made the cut between songs, clean and crisp, like a “professional”. In my first Subaru, I had a cassette deck and the kids still remember my tapes, which ones they liked and the ones they didn’t. They were fed a steady diet of Simply Red, Sade, Tracy Chapman and Keith Richards, both his solo albums and a friend’s mixed tape, I lost that one. I know that cassette tapes were replaced by the c.d, but I haven’t found a c.d that has the ability to generate the same special memories that my old cassettes could. Funny I never though of tape cassettes as technology, but they are same as vinyl records, old outdated clunky technology, worthy of big doses of nostalgia.
I am still waiting for Rosie the housekeeper from The Jetsons and the flying car. I would’t mind making my current vacuum cleaner obsolete.