Nostalgia is an admission of memory loss. When I see people waxing nostalgic about old fashioned phones, or record players, or typewriters, I don’t get it. I do, a bit. I suppose it’s mostly a reminder of when we were young, and it’s good to be young. You feel energetic, alive, the sky is the limit.
But I remember using a typewriter. You put one piece of paper it, finoodle it so the bottom lines up, roll it around until it comes up on your side, like reverse toilet paper, tuck it under the bar, and start typing. Sometimes a key would jam, or the ribbon get tangled – oh, changing the ribbon, that was always fun – and if you made a mistake, it wasn’t as simple as backspace delete, no, you had to use white-out, let it sit for a while, then go back and type over it and it still looked like shit.
Then, when you were done, you had….whatever it was, on a sheet of paper, in your hands. You could show it to other people in your house. You could not post it on the internet for anybody in the world to see, because the internet didn’t exist yet.
I took part in a conversation on Facebook this morning, about different styles of real life communication, and the rift between people who hate being interrupted, and want conversation to proceed in an orderly fashion, with only one person speaking at a time, and the others (the majority within this particular group) favoring the more Judeo-Mediterranean style of everybody just saying what they had to say, and talking over each other freely. The example of this dichotomy that always springs to my mind is in ‘Annie Hall,’ where she takes him home to meet her parents, and they show a split screen of the different conversational styles employed by their very different families.
But it struck how those are two old styles, which have somewhat been transcended by modern media. Now we can all be talking at the same time, but our comments do not disappear into the air as soon as they are uttered. They are timeless, and become a permanent fixture of the never ending conversation.
It’s all good. Use the one person at a time format in a job interview or a classroom, the more anarchic just let it fly method when you’re at an Italian restaurant with lots of good friends and the wine is flowing, and this one here for whatever you think is good enough to go into the permanent record.
And we’ll keep on talking until we’ve got everything figured out.