I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1990 Telephone vs. 2009 Telephone

Our bedtime story tonight was The Berenstain Bears and the Slumber Party. I remember reading this book, among the other forty BB classics we owned, when I was young. But reading Stan & Jan Berenstain in 2009 has revealed some really dated technology. This particular book was written in 1990, not too ancient, but on the first page, it reads:

"One of the most interesting things about a telephone is that when it rings you don't know who's calling until you answer it."

Oh yeah? Ayla and Jackson will, in fact, never know that feeling. Caller ID isn't the new, updated technology I experienced in junior high, it's always right there on the cellphone. The most interesting thing about answering the phone is not answering it when someone dreaded calls. (I have to say though, readers, that if I've ever missed your call, don't assume that I ignored it. I'm just really bad at being near my phone and answering it). We don't even have a land line in our house, so my kids are weirded out when they do hear a normal phone ring.

Also, there's a part in the story when Too-Tall Grizzly (Ayla calls him the "idiot man") crashes the party and he brings his "boom box". Awesome.

But my point: it's so crazy to read my childhood books again and realize how much has changed. I am really going to turn into one of those old ladies telling tall tales about when I was young, we didn't even know who was on the phone! Gasp!?!

I have to admit, though, that I'd be pretty freaked out if I didn't have caller ID anymore. I am not exactly a fan of talking on the phone at all. It makes me nervous. I say stupid things, stutter, get flustered - it's completely ridiculous.

And this is why: I had a traumatizing phone experience right around 1990. My father lived in Florida for approximately a year when I was in the elementary school. He would call on the phone every night, and sometimes pretend to be someone else. "Hi! Pizza Roma - I'm waiting outside with your pizza!" Stuff like that. I came to expect that every time a grown man called the house, it was my Dad joking around. And then one night, probably after reading my Berenstain Bear books, the plumber called. He wanted to talk to my mom and I kept insisting, "Dad! I know it's you!" He said, "No, I'm really not..." And the conversation continued in circles until he finally hung up on me. I was mortified and that feeling still sticks with me today.

So thank you, Caller ID, for appeasing my phone anxiety. Forget text messages, picture messages, blue-tooth, whatever- I'm still really pleased with the basics.

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