By Bernie Bell
Let’s say someone was born in 1890. By 1900, the turn of the century, they would be 10 years old – old enough to take notice, pay attention and remember things that were happening around them. It was still the Victorian era – only just – but it was. Then – Edwardian England – a lot of changes – life loosened up a bit. Then, the first World War. After the war, skirts got shorter, hair got shorter, music went crazy – a very different world. Then, second World War, after which – one thing after another happened – ‘progress’ (!?!) escalated. So, let’s say our imaginary person dies in 1980 aged 90, still compos mentis. I have thought that that must have been an amazing time, an exceptional series of decades, to have lived through.
I suppose you don’t notice it all that much, as it’s happening, but looking back at it – such changes.
Then, think of our own lifetimes – computers, t’Internet, mobile phones.
I can remember, 20 odd years ago, our neighbour was working away. We heard noises in his house and went to see what was happening. A starling had come down the chimney and was flapping about, shitting everywhere. Trevor had left us his phone number for if needed. So, I rang the number, thinking it would be the hotel where he was staying. I got straight through to Trevor in the engine room of a ship!!! He told us where he had a spare key hidden, we got it, caught the starling, and cleaned up the shit!
That was my first experience of the connectivity of mobile phones. I could talk with Trevor, in the engine room of a ship, off the coast of Egypt. That took a bit of computing in my brain!
And the stuff folk can do with their Smart phones, is beyond me – literally beyond me – adjusting the heating in your house when you’re not there – all sorts of stuff.
Mike is taking part in video conferences from home, and virtual tea-breaks with his colleagues. I went into the room we call the office, to get something, when this was happening, and the people were saying hello to me, as I know them – the whole thing freaked me out! About 6 people, with me and Mike in a box in the corner – I couldn’t manage that sort of communication, at all. I can’t manage multi-tasking, or multi-attention things – in fact, I have trouble focusing on doing one thing, a lot of the time!
Our neighbour is working from home, and he took part in an international video conference with over 200 people a few days ago – EEEEEKKKKK!!
Apparently, people can change the background for what shows behind them on the screen, they can also change their appearance. I heard a tale of someone who took part in a video conference where the Chair, looked like a potato!! For fun, this lady had changed her appearance to that of an animated potato, for a family video chat, but didn’t know how to change back again, so – she had to Chair a work meeting, as a potato. It must have been a bit hard to take her seriously!
And, there’s that Alexa thing – don’t they think about what they’re letting into their houses? Just following the latest ‘trend’ – Madness.
I’ve been thinking along those lines – the things that happen in a lifetime – some lifetimes having been more – let’s say, eventful – than others. Like the one we’re experiencing now.