I sat down this morning figuring I’d post about what happened with the whole rough-patch-in-the-desert thing. Instead, I’ve spent the past half hour at condron.us viewing a series of random blogs. At first I thought it was one of those stupid link-farm sites, but it’s actually kind of fun.
I had no idea that rabbit urine was really bad, or that young goats and young humans have similar digestive systems (in so far as the role of the small intestines goes). I’d forgotten that I like the word ruminate. And until today, I didn’t know that abomasum and maw are synonyms.
People my age used to use encyclopedias. An actual door to door salesman came to our house with samples and sold my parents a set of World Book Encyclopedias. Nearly a yard of hardback books filled with articles and pictures that cost a small fortune. Even in high school, I wrote most of my papers by picking a random encyclopedia and flipping through until I found some interesting pictures. For English papers, we could pick our topic since the teacher was interested in having us practice paraphrasing, proper citation, good sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, and so forth. Everything was done in pencil, turned in to be corrected, then handed back to be rewritten neatly in ink. In cursive. And by the way, sentence fragments like the one I just wrote were for published authors only. I had a big argument about that with one of my teachers because I thought it added emphasis and sounded edgy while she thought I was a pain in the ass who didn’t want to follow the rules.
I feel a little sad for young people. They don’t know what it’s like to leaf through an encyclopedia and be delightfully sidetracked. And libraries – there’s something unholy about a computerized card catalog. It doesn’t smell. The old card catalogs smelled of adventure and worlds yet unknown. But I feel happy for me. I remember the magic of the library and I was born in a time before Pong, when cartoons were on Saturday mornings only (so parents could sleep in) and there was nothing to do but read and play and think.
I wonder if it’s the same for every generation? Probably. I remember being so glad I wasn’t born in my mother’s time, when girls couldn’t even wear pants to school. My grandmother broke both her ankles jumping off a buggy with a run away horse. She was in the hospital for over a year and never walked right again. She was lucky. For awhile, it looked like they’d have to amputate both her feet. I heard that story and was glad that I lived when there were good doctors and hospitals – and they were getting better all the time. I wished there was a way I could skip forward in time so I could see what the future would be like, think of what we’ll be able to do then! But nowadays I’m content with where I am. My kids feel sorry for me because I grew up without Wii and texting, but I don’t want to switch worlds with them any more than my mother and grandmother wanted to switch with me.
It’s a neat age. I have a foot in both worlds. I miss the card catalog, but the random blogs this morning were a blast! And now that I’ve written this, I’m going to indulge in Post Secret before I do my nails and figure out what we’re going to have for dinner. Still, there’s something here that’s just a little sad. We need to touch more than our keyboards and mice. We need to feel real hugs ((((hugs))))) and see real smiles. We need real emotional connection, not just emoticons.