Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Look Back

When I was a girl, it cost ten cents to make a call from a pay phone, so I'd stow dimes in my penny loafers' coin holders. (Penny loafers, pay phones? Why, yes, I am older than dirt.) In case of emergency, I always had a dime to call home. Nowadays, kids as young as eight have cell phones and don't have to rely on pay phones.

The publishing industry, among others, is going through an upheaval, and I handle uncertainty by focusing on the positives rather than clinging to the way things used to be in the era of ten-cent phone calls.

Changes I didn't imagine as a girl have come to pass and made my life easier and/or more enjoyable: the Internet, EZ Pass, and e-books, among them. I'm grateful, too, for less obvious improvements, including a couple of low-tech advancements. Here's what I mean:

  1. No-show tennis socks for men. Why shouldn't male shorts-wearers have an unbroken leg line from ankle to lower thigh?
  2. Bans on smoking in restaurants, bars, and workplaces. This one's painful for some of you, I know, but it's a pleasure not to have to wash the scent of burnt tobacco out of my hair at the end of a workday or an evening out.
  3. Scanner thermometers that take a baby or child's temperature in seconds via a touch on the forehead. (Rectal thermometers and squirmy babies never went well together.)
  4. Smart dirt. My outdoor potted plants don't get parched in the mid-day sun thanks to potting soil with moisture-retaining pellets. I still water regularly, but if I skip a day, the plant survives. That's a biggie in the Houston summer.
  5. Renewing and reserving library books online Okay, this last one wouldn't exist without the Internet, but I have to tell you I'm glad to abandon those last-minute dashes to the library to renew a book. Fines, remember those? I haven't had one in a couple of years.
Your turn. What newfangled and not necessarily high-tech advances have changed your life for the better?


Jennette Marie Powell said...

LOL I remember payphones! Though I was pretty little when it was only a dime. :)

I'm thankful for a business-casual dress code in most workplaces! When I graduated from college, it wasn't that way, and having to take dresses and suits to the drycleaners was a big pain! Not to mention wearing them every day, as opposed to more comfortable clothes.

Lark Howard said...

Debit cards!!! I use to write checks all the time and now I almost never do. I use it like cash. Even in Europe, my debit card works most places (except self-serve gas stations which require a chip card) and can get you local currency cheap. They're high tech supported low tech--does that count?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

That's right, Jennette, rub it in that you're younger than moi.

One of my former workplaces specified that women had to wear hose and could not wear sleeveless dresses or shirts. Houston's HOT in the summer.

I'm glad you're dressing comfortably these days.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Debit cards definitely count, Lark. Good one!

Sarah Andre said...

Wrapping paper that conveniently has grids on the back, so I'm not butchering through it at an angle.

One thing I DO miss is full-service gas stations. Not that I can't get out, swipe my card and schlepp my own, but there was something luxurious about letting someone else have the dregs drip all over them! Or have some guy be very concerned that my windshield was clean and my oil was topped off.

Louise Behiel said...

A life time ago, I worked in the bank and we couldn't wear trousers to work!!! had to be skirts and jackets or sweaters - no bare arms for us either. (Heaven knows, the sight of my arms will throw a man into ecstasy and drive him to force himself on me LOL>. A cultural change I'm grateful for is the evolution of women driving - very few women drove when I was young and I learned after I had 2 kids.

i'm also really glad for the birth control pill. again not techie stuff but it made my life lovely.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Yes! to wrapping paper with grids on the back, Sarah.

Once in a while, I forget self-service gas stations aren't common nationwide. A NJ station owner/pump jockey RAN over when I got out of my car and reached for a hose. "Get back in the car, lady!" It was like Law and Order, Gas Stations.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Glad you've won the right to bare arms--and wear trousers, Louise. I'm with you on driving and birth control, too. The good old days were overrated, don't you think?

Sheila Seabrook said...

3G ereaders ... no more lugging around a pile of books (because the thought of being caught bookless is unimaginable!)

I've never heard of smart dirt, Pat. It both intrigues me and frightens me. The thought of not worrying about watering plants is exciting. But the thought of dirt being smarter than I am is a tad worrisome. Or am I just letting my imagination get away from me? :)

LynNerdKelley said...

Digital cameras! They're fantastic.
Gift bags. Just stick the gift in with tissue paper and it's good to go!
All day passes at Disneyland. When I was a kid, each person got a coupon book when they paid for admission. You only had so many E Ride (I think) coupons, which were for the best rides. Then there were the not as exciting rides that required D, C, etc. coupons. If you lost your coupons or, God forbid, the whole book, it was tough luck. And with a big family and having to pull a ticket out for each member to go on each ride, that was a pain in the buttinski! I remember penny loafers, too, and ten cent phone calls. Guess I'm old as dirt, too!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

The dirt's nowhere near as smart as you, Sheila. It has yet to tell me why the hibiscus won't bloom, and it doesn't know squat about mealy bugs.

Yes to 3G e-readers!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Gift bags! Oh, Lynn, they are heaven-sent.

Digital cameras! Another reason to be glad we don't live in the past.

As for the Disneyland tickets, you're a California girl and live close enough to visit Anaheim regularly. I went to Disney World in Orlando for the first time two years ago--and didn't take my kids. Oh, the guilt! BTW, that old ticket system sounds like a pain.

Karen McFarland said...

Pat, you forgot to mention your sparky new bionic hearing device! :)