Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In the Days Before Internet

We liked books in the olden days
I work in tech support so I hear all day long how awful it is to be without internet. I know that we live in a world now that we are so dependent on the internet that when it goes down, it's a crisis.

Personally, I love the internet but I'm old enough to remember a time without it. I was born in the late 70's and didn't get online until I was in college. A friend on Facebook posted a link today - 20 Questions I Have For People Who Were In Their 20s Before Cell Phones & Internet. I thought I'd try to answer the questions as I remember to the olden days of the 1980's.

1. How did you make plans? My non-internet days were mostly high school and college. So you'd make plans either at school or via the phone. Not hard but could be more time consuming than now when trying to have to work with your friends' parents' schedules too.

2. How did you CANCEL plans? Again - there was a wonderful thing called a phone. And answering machines!

3. How did you know who was calling you before you picked up the phone? You didn't. It was phone roulette. It could be your mom or a bill collector, and you wouldn't know. Now by the time I got into college in the 90's there was caller ID. Growing up in the 80's though, you just answered the phone. Didn't think about who might be on the other end.

4. How did you rid of the fear that is calling people? Personally - I didn't. I don't like the phone and I don't like calling people. I made the minimum amount of calls a person could make growing up and was extremely happy when texting and email became a thing you could use.

5. How did you find out information about people before you went on dates with them? You asked their friends. Most of the people I dated in my life (which isn't a lot), I met either through friends or through clubs / activities.

6. How did you find people to date in the first place??? Like I said above - you'd meet people through friends, through clubs, through classes.

I met my first boyfriend through a sci-fi club my college best friend and I tried to start. Other people I dated were from my group of friends. And Todd was my college best friend's husband's childhood best friend. I didn't need the internet to find dates and I didn't date that much.

7. How did you keep tabs on exes? You didn't - which isn't a bad thing!

8. How did you keep tabs on what your entire graduating class from high school was doing? Again, you didn't. I got Facebook after I got out of college and it was a trip to see what everyone from high school was doing.

9. How did you look for jobs? Paper want ads, signs in business windows, bulletin boards, word of mouth. I didn't use the internet to find a job until I was out of college.

10. How did your parents get in touch with you when you were out? You didn't unless you needed to. There was pay phones all over back then. I didn't really do much beyond go to friends' houses or the movies, so it was not a concern. My parents knew where I was.

11. How did your survive waiting for meetings, appointments, trains, or anything without being able to pass time by pretending to look busy on your phone? Personally I daydreamed. I'm a writer so even as a kid, so I had no issue entertaining myself quietly when need be.

12. How did you do ANYTHING at work before email? Now, I didn't have a job before internet. Even my first fast food jobs had connections to be able to ring things up. But I'm guessing it was very long and tedious to do office work.

13. How did you tell co-workers (or someone else you were meeting) that you were going to be late when you were stuck in traffic or stuck on some disabled subway car? You didn't. You'd explain when you got there. If the person you were meeting wasn't there, you'd just call them once you go home. Honestly majority of the time, this was a non-issue.

14. How did you sign up for classes at the gym? I never used a gym until I got to college. The classes I signed up for were actual college classes. I took fencing, which was a blast. But I'm assuming that you'd go to the gym or call.

15. How did you know where you were or where you were going ever? This is something I struggled with because I'm not great at reading maps. Until the internet came about and mapquest, I didn't really venture out of my comfort zone.

16. What did you have to do if you broke down on the side of the road? I never broke down on the side of the road or was with my parents when they did. But if you did, you'd walk until you got to someplace with a phone.

17. How did you always have change on you to use these pay phones? When I was younger and had my first job, all I had was cash. And with cash comes change. It's just something that people always had in their wallets.

18. How did you research anything for school? There is wonderful thing that is called the Library. When I was in high school, that's what we used. In college when the internet was used, most teachers would not allow internet sources for papers because the internet was too new. So still off to the library so research the old fashioned way.

19. How did you find out about the weather? You'd watch the evening news. Every night, my parents would watch the news and about halfway through they would show the weather forecast. You could also look outside for current weather.

20. How did you stay in touch with friends? All my friends were through school so it wasn't hard through the school year. Otherwise there was still this wonderful invention called the telephone.

I do understand how strange it must be to think about no internet but we weren't completely in the dark ages. The author of the article seems to forget that even though we didn't have smart phones or cell phones, we did have phones. We had access to knowledge via the library and the television. We had books and games to amuse ourselves.

Now I do love the internet. I'm obviously using the internet right now to write this - I'm also working from home via the internet. It's made life better in a lot of ways but we did live and happily so without being tethered to the internet.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post, Mandy. Since I'm a generation older than you are, it made me smile. I enjoy the net a lot...but you are right, life went on well before it.