As it is, she only made it to 98. Only. I'm not sure if she aspired to the century mark and was steamed because she missed it by THAT much, or if she was tired and ready to call it a day.
When she was born they were still dealing with Spanish Flu. The bloodbath of WWI hadn't even been over for a year. I suspect that everybody would know of someone, or more likely, several people that died of either of those.
Airplanes were essentially flying death traps and any landing you walked away from was good enough. Penicillin was still a decade and a half a way, so people could die from an infected cut. Anesthesia for surgical procedures was a thing, just barely, and dental X-Rays weren't quite yet. Telephone was a thing, but was still under active development. Oddly enough, the facsimile machine predates the telephone. Television was a decade away.
Those few things paint a picture of the world just past living memory. Things changed fast. The first heavier than air flight was 1903, and in 1969 men walked on the moon. Only 66 years. There were probably lots of people old enough to read about the first flight in the newspapers, and were still alive to watch the moon landings on TV. I remember reading an article that extrapolated the transportation speeds into the future, and predicted by the start of the 21st century we'd have faster than light space travel. Now, 53 years later, it looks like we're going back to the moon again.
The medical world didn't know how to deal with Spanish Flu. The death toll was enormous, and all they could do was tell people to stay isolated and wear a mask. Now we know how the disease is transmitted, and how it affects the body. We have vaccines, though it isn't a sure prevention. We have medical grade masks that are better than anything available back then.
Imagine isolation 100 years ago. No internet. Probably no electricity. Probably no telephone. No television. Maybe you could get someone to drop off some books with food. Depending on exactly where and when, isolation might be enforced by the local police.
Isolation is a piece of cake now. With a high speed internet connection, you can watch nearly any movie or TV show ever made, listen to nearly any music ever recorded. Cat videos alone could take up a significant fraction of the rest of your life. You can video chat in real time with nearly anyone else in the world. Is there anything you can't order through Amazon or other on line services and be delivered in a few days?
People have all that, and still complained. It was such a hardship. I have no sympathy. Remember, I translate someone saying "I'm bored" as "I'm really stupid" and I avoid them.
Our world is still changing. Linda was telling me that there's only a couple Dim Sum restaurants in town that do it the old fashioned way, with people wheeling carts around with food, and you point to what you want. Now you order what you want and it gets delivered. All this assumes you know what some particular dish is called. I never did. I just knew which ones I liked, though it's a dim memory now. I can't remember the last time I had Dim Sum, and in fact, the last time I had Chinese food is a little hazy. A lot hazy, actually. I think it was a team lunch when I worked at Talisman.
I talked a couple weeks ago about cell phones in modern life
. They arrived only 20 years ago and I was a live adult then. I marvelled at remembering what life was like then, and I can barely imagine 100 years ago. Sometimes I wonder about looking the other way, thinking about what the people of 100 years ago would think of today. Yes, the technology changes would amaze them, but I think the thing they'd struggle with most is the pace of life. People expect everything now. Actually that's an understatement. They expect everything RIGHT EFFING NOW!!! Having a gadget arrive at your door from a sweatshop in China overnight is barely fast enough. If you don't answer in 2 rings they hang up, and you wonder why we never answer our land line. (Which is another bit of technology in our house that is essentially obsolete now.)
I'm pretty sure the last actual paper letter I got from a person was late 2017. Other than a few bills in the paper mail, the rest is junk. Even the email to my original address is mostly junk. Every now and then I go write a bunch of rules to send the junk to the trash without me having to do it. Pity the cell phone doesn't let me do that. Every morning I have to delete a dozen or so emails that are mostly shopping spam.
Before that, I periodically corresponded via letter with the one who would be 103. I sometimes wrote by hand, which was a trial for both of us because my handwriting has never been any better than atrocious. Hers was a semi-elegant scrawl that I had to work to read. Mostly I typed. The fact that much of the news was about people I'd never met didn't help. Letters took a week or so to get back and forth, most of the time. There were time for events to happen that might get discussed in such a letter. There was time to read and write such a letter.
Now, there might be a couple of email exchanges, then it will get buried in the flood of everything else. Things that have to be dealt with RIGHT NOW. Email used to be amazing, now it's a chore, something quaintly old fashioned to young people. They casually say to one another, whatsupme, or tiktak me or probably something even newer that I've never heard of. Even texting isn't fast enough. It seems that people now cannot be out of touch. I think for most people, you wouldn't have to torture them to spill the beans. Just make them sit in a chair in a quiet room. They'd crack before they had to pee.
Don't get me started on emoticons or emojis. There was a reason we invented letters and literacy; it gives us clarity and precision.
Some days I just want to unplug. The other day I happened to be listening to a cover of Midnight Train to Georgia, for the first time since about high school. The lyrics mean something entirely different to me now. Except now that simpler place and time probably isn't there anymore.
I suppose it's a good thing I'm retired now. I can unplug to a certain extent. I feel for the people that actually can't.
What photo to show you? Decisions, decisions. Let's just go with a nice placid beach scene. Maybe you'll pause for a moment to enjoy the solitude.
Of the Day