Wistful Thinking – We Used To Wait

It’s Friday. I should be sharing my early angst’y writing from back in the day with you. But I can’t. My head is all over the place today. Trying to settle, and won’t. Thinking about our times, these days, and how everything’s changed. Watched my son chatting with his friend on Facebook last night, and an image – a memory – from my childhood popped into my brain. Dragging the phone which was very much attached to the wall into my bedroom.

And talking – talking! – to my friends for hours. Dad bellowing “..get off the phone!! I might miss a call!” No call waiting in those days. Remember busy signals? I remember rotary phones. But then I remember morning milk delivery also.

I’m not even *that* old. I wonder if my Mom or Dad ever felt like this. Had their own memories. Watching me wear out my walkman in an existential teenage funk.

My dad was what you’d call a late adopter. Like, really late. We didn’t have cable TV until I was in my teens. And when he did adopt? Let me put it this way. We had a Sony Betamax.

When I was a kid, I didn’t know what a computer was. I didn’t use a computer until I was in my 20’s. I had pen pals. There are no recordings of my friends and I acting like dorks and dressing up like Duran Duran (Yeah. I said it.) I had decades of being unreachable. Years of feeling lonely. Real time alone. Boredom. I could hide. My child will never know what that feels like. I don’t know what I’m feeling today. It’s not nostalgia. This world is too exciting and full of growth and expectation for that. Am I wistful? Maybe. I’m not sure I know why though. I think I’ll just sink into the feeling. The memories.

I know one thing, Arcade Fire nailed it recently with these lyrics from their song “We Used To Wait” (man, can they write wistful lyrics) – live version of the tune here.

We used to wait. I can’t even wait thirty seconds for a file to load these days.

Arcade Fire – We Used To Wait

I used to write, I used to write letters I used to sign my name

I used to sleep at night, Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain

But by the time we met, By the time we met the times had already changed

So I never wrote a letter, I never took my true heart I never wrote it down

So when the lights cut out, I was left standing in the wilderness downtown

Now our lives are changing fast, Now our lives are changing fast

Hope that something pure can last, Hope that something pure can last

It seems strange, How we used to wait for letters to arrive

But what’s stranger still, Is how something so small can keep you alive



5 thoughts on “Wistful Thinking – We Used To Wait

  1. Like you, I’m not that old, but things seem to be changing much more rapidly than when we were kids. I think the biggest technological changes we had was going from B&W to color TV (we didn’t even have cable when I was growing up – couldn’t afford it), going from rotary to push button phones, and carrying around a bag phone when cell phones came out…that was only to be used in emergencies.

    Someday we’ll be talking about how we walked to school uphill, both ways, in 12 feet of snow.

  2. Oh. Gini. You have *no* idea how often I catch myself saying stuff and going “What am I?? 95 years OLD!!??” Ugh. But I agree, it really is ‘the pace’ of it all. It’s increasing exponentially decade after decade, faster and faster, some days it’s nice to just pause, and remember when. And FYI, I grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick. I *did* walk to school uphill both ways in 12 feet of snow!! LOL!! You rock girl. Have a great weekend! :)

  3. Think back to favorite movies over the past, say, ten years, & consider how the plot arc may have changed through something as simple (but still monumental) as a cell phone. Or how our ability to communicate has been truly and fundamentally changed through oodles and oodles of technological tools.

    We can be held hostage by technology or we can twist it into something meaningful. Choice is ours. :)

    • Definitely. Funny, I was watching The Big Lebowski the other day and The Dude had his ‘pager’ with him! Made me laugh out loud! Don’t get me wrong, I’m hep to all the changes and improvements. Just, you know, when you stop and *think* about it, sometimes it can make your head spin. It really has fundamentally changed how we all *experience* everything. Immediate gratification is the new norm. :) Thanks for dropping by! Cheers!

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