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.

Life Line by Bernie Bell

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2 replies »

  1. I used to speak with my Gran about this. She was born in 1882 and died in 1975 so had seen the biggest changes in history. Gas, electricity, oil, nuclear power,cars, aircraft, cinema, radio, television, the atomic bomb, many wars, the Black and Tans, and men on the moon.
    She seemed to take it all in her stride and died, accompanied as always by a handbag so big she could hardly lift it, and which contained her life.

  2. My mum ( born in 1913) had a suitcase which contained her life – when she died and my sister was sorting through her things, my nephew said it wasn’t much to show for a life. My sister pointed out that – Mum had five children, who then had their own children, including him.
    ‘Nuff said.

    My Dad never believed that they put men on the moon! He insisted that the Americans had filmed it all in a desert – just a step too far for Dad.

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