Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When I Was 25...

When I was younger, say around 25 years of age, there were a lot of things that we didn't have by today's standards. Somehow we managed to have a pretty fulfilling life.

When I was 25, telephones had a round dial and were attached to the wall with an electric cord. If you wanted to make a call, you had to go to where the phone was. If you were expecting a call, you stayed where the phone was.

Today, even children have cell phones. It seems that all of a sudden everyone has to be talking or texting or eMailing someone while they do everything else. What is so important that a phone call can't wait until you are somewhere semi-private. No one wants to hear one side of your idiotic conversation while they're eating. It's not cool.

When I was 25 and I wanted to carry some drinking water with me, I bought a canteen and filled it from the water tap at home or from a drinking fountain. People who did this were either hiking and camping or they were thought of as "Weird".

Today everyone has a bottle of water with a nipple of some kind on the end so that it's easier to drink. Infantile! We're going backwards on this one. In many cases it's not even plain water. There is vitamin water, energy water, sports water, flavored water, fortified water etc. etc... Whatever happened to just plain water (in a canteen)?

When I was 25 we had free television! Granted, there were only three channels: ABC, NBC and CBS... but all you had to do was set up a TV antenna and it was FREE! FREE!

Today we have Cable TV and Satellite TV that comes from a Satellite in Outer Friggin' Space! OUTER SPACE TV! Who would have thunk it? On these hundreds of channels we can watch "Reality TV" where we are enthralled by someone doing dirty jobs or catching crabs or tuna fish or driving a truck on icy roads or whatever the hell you want to watch, even nekkid folks doing the nasty!

When I was 25 and wanted to fly on a plane, we dressed up in nice clothes and walked right up the ramp into the plane without a care. We were served a fairly nice meal by nice young ladies. We were treated with respect because if you were flying you had the money for a ticket. If you had that much money you deserved respect! It was a nice time.

Today if we want to fly on a plane we have to be there early so that some TSA agent who couldn't get a job anywhere else, feels us up and asks us to take off belts, watches and jewelry as well as our shoes so that we can feel safe in the sky.

No one dresses up any longer. In fact I'm sometimes surprised if some folks show up wearing something other than their pajamas! Once we are airborne we are occasionally offered a small bag of peanuts and a soft drink by a surly middle aged flight attendant of indeterminate gender. Flying on commercial aviation is nothing more than taking a ride in a cattle car with wings! It's why I stay at home now...

When I was 25 I could drive into a "Service Station" (remember those?) where the attendant would fill my tank with gasoline, wash my window, check my oil, radiator and air pressure in the tires. All this for 45 cents a gallon.

Today I have to pump my own gas and wash my own windshield and all that other stuff for a mere $4.15 a gallon and I never see an attendant. I pay at the pump with my Debit card (another thing I didn't have at 25). If I want to see an attendant, I have to go into the "Convenience store" and try to understand what he is saying through his thick Indian or Pakistani accent.

When I was 25 the only people who had computers were the government - NASA and the like. Computers were something that was in the realm of scientists and insurance companies and the IRS.

Today EVERYONE has computers. Children have computers. Kids in kindergarten are required to do their homework on computers... and they DO! We now have computers to play games on, to communicate with friends on the other side of the planet and to send eMail and write Blogs. When I was 25 who even knew what a blog was other than a kind of swampy area in the backwoods. (Or was that a bog?)

When I was 25 the world was a much simpler place to live. If I wanted a drink of water I went to the sink and filled up a glass and drank. I didn't have to worry about what kind of water I wanted. I wanted water ~ H2O. Nothing more and nothing less. I miss the old movie stars like Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy and Jimmy Stewart. Those guys were real movie stars. They had class.

Oh, yeah. And then there's this:

The Geezer often looks back fondly at a kinder, slower and more friendly time of my life. What I wouldn't give to go back then and know what I know now!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gravity, Family and Life in General

 I'm too short.

   For my weight, I should be around 6'8" tall and I'm only 5'9''. My driver's license says that I'm 5'9" but in actuality I'm closer to 5'7" or 5'8". I seem to be shrinking in height as I get older. It's all gravity's fault!

   That's not the only thing that has changed over these past many years. My little sisters and I were once very close but time, jobs and relationships have scattered us to the three corners of the West. We're still close, relationship-wise but we don't see one another as often as we'd like. Life happens!

   I live in Central Nevada. My youngest sister, Lori, lives in Southern California with her husband and children. My next youngest sister, Peggy, lives in Washington State on the "Peninsula" with her husband. Both are retired from the U.S. Forest Service and live a life of quiet leisure. Peggy writes a Blog: Le Petite Crone (see the link in the right-hand column).

   My sister Lori is fourteen years younger than I. She was the one who was given a color TV as a High School graduation present. I got a Timex watch. I resented her for years afterward until I grew up and realized that by the time she graduated, our parents were better off financially and TVs were cheaper than they had once been. (still... a Timex?)

   When my sister Peggy (five years my junior) graduated from High School I was in the Coast Guard and I wasn't there to see what she got as a graduation gift. It was probably something spectacular so I'm probably better off not knowing.

   I mentioned that my sister Peggy lives on the peninsula in Washington State. The peninsula is actually just an overgrown sand bar that probably wasn't even there a few thousand years ago. The action of wind, tides and the Cascadia Subduction Zone created what is now a moderately populated sandy bog that separates Oyster Bay from the daily pounding of the Pacific Ocean. One medium-to-strong earthquake and the ensuing tsunami will effectively erase the peninsula from existence. (I imagine that everyone who lives there is required to wear a life jacket at all times.)

   Sister Lori who lives in SoCal has been a professional fast food employee since graduating High School. Apparently she watched too much TV (Hah!) and had no ambition to get a higher education and through that, a better job. She has three kids, two daughters and a son, who are her life. The two girls are out of school and the boy is (I think) in High School now.

   I myself am retired from the U.S. Postal Service but still work a couple of days a week to keep from actually becoming part of my living room sofa. Life's tough! I have actually had three careers. I was once a Law Enforcement officer as well as a Security Manager for a nearby gold mining company. I consider any job that I worked at for more than ten years to be a career.

   My wife and I just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary at the beginning of April. We have been together through all of my "Careers". We live a simple life here in Nevada. We own our home and three of our four vehicles are ours, free and clear. 

   As I get older the things that were once important to me become less so. I still like to go camping but when I do so I set up camp and I'm content to putter around and pretty much stick near the campfire and just enjoy the peace of surrounding myself with nature and solitude.

   I find that many foods just don't taste the way they used to. I have less of an appetite and eat much less than I did when I was younger. I don't, however, find myself geting any smaller in girth.

   On the other hand, I am developing tastes for foods that I've never liked before. I now like chicken livers sauteed in butter with chopped onions and garlic. (Unfortunately, my wife still hates liver, so I don't get the chance to eat them all that often). I've never before liked liver in any way or form. Go figure!

   I no longer get excited over things that used to drive me crazy. I seem to be developing patience but at the same time I have little use for idiots. As I get older I am spotting more and more idiots in this world.

   I guess I really am a crotchety old man at last but I still have a social conscience so I hold my tongue when I am sometimes tempted to tell someone to their face what I really think of them or their ideas or actions. Give me a year or two more, then watch out! Life's too short to hold back!

   This being The Geezer's blog, I can write about whatever's on my mind. In this case... not much, really.