Last week I bought a new camera. It also makes phone calls and goes on the Internet. It’s not very large so I can carry it anywhere. That way every time I see something beautiful I can bring it out and snap away. Now here’s something fantastic. It keeps all the pictures in its tiny little bosom for me to look at or show to my friends. Sometimes it plays music, but I usually ignore that. I have a feeling I’ve been spirited to another planet, or perhaps the future, cause the last time I looked my pictures were in an album and this was back in the black and white days. The world turned to color about midway through my life.
Televisions have done about the same thing. They call this monster in my living room a smart tv, and they are right. It’s smarter than I am, that’s for sure. The only trouble I see with it is all the little controls necessary to keep it working. It has something called a Fire Stick hanging out of its belly button and that requires a tiny control. It’s pretty cool. I can watch movies that came out twenty-five or fifty years ago, or catch up on series. They call it streaming. Other controls they call remotes do everything from switching channels to playing movies I get in the mail on what looks sort of like 45 rpm records.
If I want I can use one to hook up invisibly to a satellite floating around out in space somewhere. From there three or four hundred channels run programs, some of them pretty dumb. There’s one channel where women scream at each other all day long. Men do some utterly stupid things on some of them. Like live in the north woods where they have no electricity or running water. Can’t figure why anyone would want that.
I have to admit, though, it’s a big improvement over watching one channel from Tulsa that sometimes had a picture, another from Springfield that was like sitting underwater, and one from Fayetteville that wiggled and wobbled consistently. I remember our first tv. We lived in Wichita and had been married a few months when my parents bought us a tv for our combined birthdays. It too, was in the age of no color, but I took right to it, being alone evenings cause that’s the shift hubby preferred. I worked all day. The new tv was good entertainment at the time, but I look at those shows now (using that Fire Stick) and wonder what in the world was wrong with me that I enjoyed such nonsense.
When we went to movies, again in Wichita, a bunch of us kids would get together on Saturday morning, each with a quarter in our pockets to pay our way in and buy a coke and candy bar. We’d walk down to Highway 54, then across the viaduct that spanned all the railroad tracks and on to Douglas, the main street through town. There were a few theaters along the way, but one in particular showed westerns and those fifteen or twenty minute serials where the hero or heroine was left dangling over a tiger pit or tied to a railroad track so we had to return the following week to see what happened. Again, this was back when the world was black and white and everyone talked strange.
Now we go to these narrow theaters, sit in chairs that rock back to stare up at a screen as wide as the entire room, plug our ears against the roar of sound and watch movies that transport us right into the midst of the action. And everyone uses words my mother would’ve washed my mouth out with soap for saying. All in brilliant color. And oh, that quarter? Never mind, that won’t even buy a candy bar.
I’ll leave cars that park themselves, take you where you’re going, etc., for discussion another day.