We all say it, no matter how old we are, but I think my generation will be one of the last ones to truly be able to say we didn’t have much in terms of an online life; I was in around year 4 when the internet became a household thing… I remember getting our first PC, it was so big it took up half the bloody living room and don’t even get me started on the arguments about who could use the phone line – yes that’s right, you couldn’t be on the phone and the internet at the same time. Here are some of my favourite things from being a kid, some things the youth of today will never get the joy of:
DIAL UP INTERNET
Like I said you couldn’t be on the internet and the landline at the same time, oh no siree. The internet was magically pumped into the house via the landline box, so to connect to it you had to remove the phone and hook the wire to the computer. A WIRE, TO THE COMPUTER. After you’re 2 hours of online AOL chat rooms as soon as you plugged the phone back in your nan would be calling; ‘I have been trying to call for 2 hours, why has your line been engaged, I thought you had all died’. Or when someone picked up the phone halfway through your internet time it would end your session. Sometimes I do kinda miss that crackly dial up tone when you were connecting to the world wide web, that’s if it eventually connected, you could only imagine what it would be like if you were using a hearing impaired phone and you need to make a phone call.
REWINDING THE VHS
A VHS is an old school video FYI. You could rent these from video shops (basically a real life Netflix you could walk around) but the problem is no one ever rewound the films, so before you could watch it you had to spend 25 minutes rewinding it… We would have killed for scene selection back in the day. But rewinding and fast-forwarding could go very very wrong very quickly, the tape could get tangled and you would have to manually wind it, or it would snap and DOOM.
NEVER BEING ABLE TO CANCEL SHORT NOTICE
You know the days when you have plans with friends, but an hour before you’re supposed to meet you just can’t be bothered? You know you can just send a tweet/DM/Whatsapp/Text 20 minutes before you’re supposed to meet to cancel. Back then you had to man up and go out, you had no choice – because there was no way to get in touch with anyone to cancel if they had already left the house. Plus even if they were still at home there was no guarantee that someone wasn’t on the internet leaving their phone line constantly engaged.
There was none of this streaming malarkey, and to be honest before illegally downloading music arrived you had to tape your songs off the radio making sure to stop recording just when the radio DJ started talking – a skill that took years to master. When downloading songs arrived it was like manna from heaven, until you realised that each song took 3 years to download and you had to leave your computer on all night to make sure it didn’t stop downloading. Not only that but the LimeWire struggle was hella real; spending 7 hours downloading a song only to realise it’s some knock off crappy cover. Don’t even get me started on downloading films, 1 week later and it turns out it’s a blue movie.
The struggle was real… What are some of your most loved struggles from being a kid that the youth of today will never know?