Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year

Wow, I remember welcoming in the new decade of the 1970s (please don't go all technical on me about the decade starting in '71) with my first "date" at a friend's house where they played the theme to the futuristic 2001 on the stroke of midnight. Now we are entering 2010. For boomers like me, who spent our lives imagining the metal suits and jet packs we'd be wearing by now, it's a little anticlimactic.

Then again, while I envisioned being a much more successful writer than I am right now, I didn't envision voluminous HAL evolving into the poodle of computers, a laptop, slimmer than my three-ring binder, where I would type regular articles for something called a blog. Or that I would number among my good friends––or more amazingly, co-workers––several men and women whom I had never met, scattered around the world. Or that I would interview successful writers and post it on this thing called the Internet for worldwide viewing. Or that I'd not only think nothing of posting my own opinion of any book I'd read but that my opinion would be solicited by the book seller, who was moving from selling actual books to something where you read the words on a device.

So, come to think of it, our imaginations were actually somewhat limited back then. As I recall one of the guests at that party was a collector of movies. That meant those big reel-to-reels stacked in tin cans. Not only were they costly to purchase, it was a major big deal to set them up–-certainly not something you did every day of the week, let alone more than once a day. Now we've leapfrogged VHS and are moving from DVDs to downloads, and I'm actually running out of ideas for my Netflix queue.

I never was much of a future predictor in terms of new entertainments and technologies. I am a predictor of where we are going as a people and a culture, and sometimes my predictions scare me. Then again, I remember helping my grandmother out in her small dry goods store back in the sixties, when the old Italian ladies would pronounce futures of doom and gloom for the members of my generation and thank God they would not live to see it. And yet, here we are. There has been no nuclear holocaust. Despite the sexual revolution, most of us followed the patterns of our parents, and the same future our children see for themselves, of pairing up with someone, buying a house, and having a few kids. I live in a suburb much like I grew up in where my husband mows the lawn in summer, and I plant flowers, and we still get where we are going mostly in automobiles. We still don't have robots cleaning the basement or the garage. We still put up a tree at Christmas and pile gifts beneath it.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Happy New Year

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