I may have lived under a rock …

I just found out my little sister recently got an iPod Touch. She’s 10. This isn’t terribly uncommon anymore, but I find it funny because I just got one a couple years ago. I couldn’t help but think about what my life was like when I was 10, even beyond. I was technologically lame.

I thought back on how I stretched the Ethernet cord across the entire family room to the phone jack to connect to the dial-up Internet my family had until I was 14 or 15. I’m pretty sure I could never have dreamed of such things as iPod touches. Granted, I lived in rural North Dakota — not necessarily a technology hub.

I searched long and hard for a picture of an Ethernet cord stretched across someone's room like I remember it. Apparently no one else did that ... Or they didn't want documentation that they did.

I remember junior high Kaitlin timidly asking my parents if I could use our dinosaur 1993 Compaq Presario to IM my friends. There was no use saying I was just playing Solitaire; that darn dial-up cord was unmistakable. We did finally get a new Dell desktop in 2004, when I was 14. My family still has it. (Although they did upgrade to a laptop too a couple years ago.)

This was our good ol' model.

I remember 14 year-old Kaitlin getting her first cell phone. I was so excited until I realized how lame it was. It didn’t even have a color screen, just those pixel numbers. I remember going to sleepovers with my overnight bag and my friends joking that it was my cell phone case. The emotional scars are still healing.

There she is. Only mine was red. That's how the screen actually looked.

I remember getting my first mp3 player as a sophomore in high school. I carefully peeled off the reindeer wrapping paper that Christmas Eve (I always carefully unwrap — You might be able to repurpose it!) to find a small rod-shaped device. I had no idea what it was, but my parents said it sounded “right up my alley.” It was a 512 MB mp3 player, and it cost them $50. I was the coolest kid on the bus for a while, though. Very few of my peers knew what an mp3 player was either. Were there iPods circa 2006, or were we just so isolated up here that we were out of the loop?

It was something like these ones, only these might even be a little advanced.

Maybe that’s why I’m now glued to my phone and addicted to my laptop. But I always get a kick out of thinking back on the days when now-obsolete pieces of technology were the coolest thing since the last now-obsolete piece of technology.

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14 thoughts on “I may have lived under a rock …

  1. I had a real walkman when I was a kid (the kind that played cassette tapes)..when I got to upgrade to the CD version I thought I was just sooo cool! To this day, I have never owned an iPod though I did finally get a smartphone a few months ago. Remember that wonderful sound the dialup used to make? *shudder*

  2. PLEASE IGNORE LAST POST – SENT BEFORE CHECKING FOR TYPOS etc.

    (anyone know how to remove a post sent in error?)

    Hi Kaitlin,

    It’s your correspondent in Scotland, again.

    So glad I found your blog [on WordPress home page].

    Just loved your blog on “the old days of tech”. It made me laugh all the way through. To explain why, I need to reveal myself as being in my late 50′s. I still think of myself as in the loop and tech savvy but your blog definitely made me feel my age!

    I have come to the conclusion that the perception of times past must be compressed at your age and stretched rather longer at my age. All your comments about how a decade ago feels to you like the dark ages I fully understand, except in my case it might apply to the 60′s and 70′s. Believe me the things that didn’t exist then were even more numerous.

    Technology moves on as it always will. The difference now is that the rate of change is accelerating.

    If you think you were deprived spare a thought for my impoverished childhood…

    Forget cell phone or the internet, if anyone had even dreamt of them I never heard. My parents didn’t have a phone of any sort until after I married and left home. We did write letters and I recall the postman called twice a day, probably just to make it seem like you were really in touch. Can you imagine trying to explain to us all back then how something like IM, email or Twitter might look.

    Make sure you keep a copy of your blog to show your children in 20 or 30 years time. They won’t believe how things were and probably neither will you.

    Regards
    Jim.

    • That’s a good idea — I’ll definitely have to do that! Wow, snail mail. I remember sending letters here and there before I was allowed to use the telephone, but that’s about it! My parents were telling my siblings and I about how microwaves weren’t invented when they were little, and we all shuddered in disbelief. 🙂 I’m glad you stuck around and appreciate your thoughtful replies! Thanks so much for reading!

  3. This post is so similar to mine today! I’m so glad wordpress led me to your blog because we have a lot in common in how we look at things!
    I recently got on a kick trying to remember what my first cell phone was. It took a lot of Googling… but once I finally found it I had to write a post to document it! It’s so funny looking back and how drastically technology is changing, and how we seem to forget that it was somewhat possible to survive without it! I was a junior in highschool when i got my first cell phone, so i agree it’s so strange to hear kids are younger and younger. I’m not surprised, i guess that’s the way of the world these days. Though who knows what I will decide is the right age when I have kids… hopefully not before 10, but who knows, they may have cradle phones by then that i won’t be able to live without 😉

    • Haha I know! It’s so weird to think about what kind of technology my kids might have! I’ll probably be hated by them because I won’t let them have video chats in their high chairs or something. I actually ran across your post today from Twitter and had to laugh! We do have a lot in common! Glad we could find each others blogs — I’ll definitely be keeping up on yours! Thanks for reading!

  4. Oh god, that reminds me of my first-ever phone. If anything, it even looks worse than the one in the picture you put. The screen was ORANGE and black, and I could do almost nothing with it. I eventually resorted to joking that I “robbed a historical artifacts museum and got away with this”.

  5. Oh wow… I have been a techno nerd for a long long time. You have got me thinking about some good old days. I’m going to piggy-back off your blog post and make one of my own on cbowiephoto.wordpress.com. Thanks for the idea…

  6. This post brought back the “You’ve Got Mail” voice in my head! I remember our family’s first cell phone (which we had to share…) and then my first cell phone (when I started driving at 16 – around 2002)…

    AND – my 10-year-old version of an iPod Touch was a WALKMAN!

    • Oh yeah! I totally forgot about Walkmen! I remember I had this baby blue one that said “Angel,” when I was like 10, and I was so excited to listen to my new Backstreet Boys CD on it! Those were the good old days!

  7. And it also wasn’t too long ago that we couldn’t even get email/internet on our phone. Many people can now live well without an actual laptop since you can do almost anything on phones these days!

    But it really is nice to reminisce about the good ‘old’ days!

    • You’re right! I actually just got a smartphone last October. It’s really increased my constant connected-ness, which can be both good and bad at times. I’m glad you didn’t mind taking a little trip down memory lane too! Thanks for reading!

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