Remember when you were young
I didn't write this - I simply translated it from Russian. But this text surely hit home. How about you?
If you were a child in the 60s, 70s or 80s, it is hard, looking back, to believe that we managed to live till today.
When we were children, we used to ride in cars without seatbelts and airbags. A trip on a horse-drawn carriage on a warm summer day was a great pleasure. Our little cribs were coloured in bright paints with high lead content. Caps on medicine bottles were not child-proof. Entrance doors and wardrobes were seldom locked. We drank water from artesian wells, not from plastic bottles. Nobody in sane mind would ride a bike in a helmet. Oh, horror!
We would work hard for hours on self-made scooters made of boards and used bearings from the dump yard, but when we rode them for the first time from a hill, we’d remember we had never attached any brakes. Only after we’d slam into prickly bushes or piles of rubbish, we would fix that problem.
We would play outside all day long, returning only when the streetlights were lit. Nobody could know exactly where we were. There were no mobile phones in existence. Can you imagine!
We’d cut and scrape our legs and elbows, break bones and knock out teeth, and nobody ever sued anybody. It was always our fault, not anyone else’s. Remember? We’d fight with each other and walk around, scratched and bruised, and get used to not paying attention to that.
We would eat cakes, ice-cream and drink lemonade, all made with sugar, but nobody got fat from that, because we were always running around and playing. Several kids would drink out of the same bottle, and nobody died from it.
We didn’t have game consoles, play stations, computers, 165 channels of satellite TV, internet, CDs or pocket phones. Instead, we’d rush in a crowd to watch a cartoon into the nearest apartment, because there were also no VCRs.
BUT – we had friends. We’d leave the house and find them. Together, we rode our bicycles, raced matches along the streams in spring, sat on benches near doorways, on fences or in schoolyards, chatted and laughed. When we needed somebody, we’d knock on the door or just come over. Without invitations or arrangements. Remember? We, kids, by ourselves, in this dangerous world! Without security! How did we manage to survive?
We would invent games with sticks and old cans, we’d steal cherries and apples in private orchards, and swallow cherry pits, and cherries never grew out of them in our stomachs. During class breaks, we’d spray each other with water from used syringes.
We had the freedom of choice, the right to risk and mistake, trial and responsibility, and we somehow learned to use them. If you are one of that generation, congratulations! You lucked out that your childhood was over before young people’s freedom was purchased for Motorola Pink Razor, American Idol, Snickers bars and Lays Potato chips.
We used to do lots of things we would never imagine doing now. In fact, if you do some of the things today that you routinely did back then, few will understand, and some may think you are insane.
Take, for instance, street soda water machines. There used to be a glass there – one for all, that you could rinse in the little jet of water before use. Today, nobody would drink out of a common glass in the street. Today, the glass would be stolen within 3 seconds of machine’s installation. But back then, everybody drank out of those glasses and was not afraid to catch some disease. Local alcoholics were borrowing those glasses for their own “affairs”… and, imagine, returned them back!
We had 3 TV channels, and most of us had black and white TVs. When first self-exploding colour TVs started appearing, entire houses would gather in apartments of those lucky neighbours that had them, and ogle in awe at the pale, low-resolution colours. Who needed TVs anyway, when we had our collections of slides and diafilms? Who remembers those now? (I do).
That’s how it all used to be. And here’s how we are now:
1. You accidentally enter your ATM machine PIN-code on the microwave
2. You have 15 phone numbers of your immediate family consisting of 3 people
3. You send an email to your colleague who is sitting in the next cubicle
4. You’ve lost touch with your old friends because you don’t know their email address
5. You return home and answer your phone in the business manner, as if you are still at work
6. You panic if you leave your mobile phone behind at home, and you come back to collect it
7. You wake up in the morning and first thing you do is go online, before you even had your coffee
8. You read this and you agree with it, and you are smiling…