Alles wat Jan bezig houdt, interesseert en irriteert... en ook een beetje onzin...

zondag, juni 25, 2023

Young People Have No Idea What We Used to Do After Work. Let Me Regale You.

The year the Twin Towers fell (2001) was my last (full) year of school, so, I know I that I must have been working in 2002. The funny thing is, growing up in a world without a mobile phone or without internet at home (and certainly not in your pocket!) was like a totally different world.

How did I meet people? Make plans for the weekend? Plot trips? Mostly, being the shy nerd that I am, I just didn't. I met friends in the Kingdom Hall and we would talk about upcoming movies and make plans to drive there on Saturday nights, and maybe have a burger and a beer afterwards. That was "going out" for me. 

So, although my free time wasn't filled quite as interestingly as others knew how to, I feel very close to these comments on slate:

Rebecca (magazine writer, New York City): There were definitely no emails from bosses or internet checks before going into the office. We didn't get the internet in our apartment until 2004.

Sean: We really would just drive to someone's house and see what they were doing. You and a couple people would be in the car and you'd be like, "Let's go by Brian and Mike's."

Jordana (legal assistant, New York City): My boss gave me a PalmPilot as a bonus instead of money. I rode the subway to work and played Dope Wars on my PalmPilot. I think I only ever used that PalmPilot to play Dope Wars.

This one struck home with me as well, because my first "cellular phone" did not have a mute function. Every time I was on the platform to deliver a talk or in a meeting at work, I was afraid that a friend (some were, like me, a bit earlier and also had cellphones) would make a prank call just to have my phone go off. 

Nicole (public defender, New York City): You would not call someone's cellphone during the workday. Calling someone on their cell in that era was like how our parents thought about long-distance—only if it's very important.

Dan: If you called someone at work on their cellphone, maybe it would ring in a meeting or something. That would be terrible. Cellphones were for emergencies, or for calling people when you were drunk.

To this day I try not to take work home with me. But Teams and Outlook did find their way to my phone for some strange reason 🤔 

Nicole: I never took work home. Sometimes I had a lot to do, so I would just stay late until it was finished.

Dan: I would sometimes stay late to use the good internet at the office. They had DSL.

So, what did they do after work?

Sean: We really would just drive to someone's house and see what they were doing. You and a couple people would be in the car and you'd be like, "Let's go by Brian and Mike's."

Sally: You had to plan more ahead and hope it worked out. People didn't flake as much. There's no option to text someone 10 minutes before, because you knew they were waiting for you.

How do you cancel in a world without cell phones? You don't.

Dan: Even if you didn't feel like it, you just showed up. If you didn't show up, people would stop inviting you out. And then you would have fun! Or maybe it would suck, but next time would be fun.

Nicole: I always carried a book or the New Yorker with me, because in a time before cellphones, no one could call you to tell you they were going to be late, so you had to have something to read.

I am also old enough to have rented video cassettes, and DVD's, I think?

Sean: We rented a ton of movies at Blockbuster. Whoever was currently King of Friends got to decide—you bring them a couple of movies, and they'd decide. Or sometimes you'd just watch a movie you already owned.

For more nostalgia, you can find the whole article at Slate: