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Country Roads: Things I used to do

Arvid Huisman
Arvid Huisman

The other day I got to thinking about the things I used to do that I don’t do now. If you think this is going to be an old timer’s true confessions, guess again. My life hasn’t been that exciting.

Seriously, there are a number of things that I used to do on a regular basis that I don’t do anymore.

For instance, I haven’t dialed a phone call for many years. I’ve touched many keypads to make calls and even though we still call it “dialing” most of us aren’t really dialing anymore.

When I was a kid our phone system consisted of phones with cranks and a central operator. I thought dial phones were so modern back then. Now dial telephone sets are nearly antiques. I don’t know if that says more about advancing technology or my advancing age.

I haven’t typed a letter for years. Oh, I write many things on a keyboard connected to a computer but I haven’t actually used a typewriter for maybe 20 years. Probably as many years as since I last dialed a phone.

Speaking of computers, I haven’t used a floppy disk for a long time. When I first began using a desktop computer 25 years ago I had a big stack of floppies that were critically important to the operation of the computer. Today, hard drives have made floppies obsolete. Another thing I haven’t done for a long time — rewind a VHS tape. I have an old VHS player and a box of old VHS tapes but I haven’t used either for years. DVDs replaced VHS tapes and it won’t be long before something else replaces DVDs. I also haven’t set a needle on a vinyl record for many years.

Come to think of it, I haven’t manually shifted a motor vehicle for a long time, either. While straight stick cars are still being made, I’m happy with an automatic transmission. As the cars grow smaller and smaller, I have less and less leg room and operating a clutch could be difficult.

Another thing I haven’t done for a while is pay a bill in person. I got out of the habit of paying bills in person some years ago and had been sending checks by mail. Over the past few years I have been paying as many bills as possible online. Quick and easy and 46-cents (each) cheaper than by mail.

Dial-up. Now there’s a term I’m happy to forget. When many of us got hooked on the Internet 20 years ago, most of us accessed the World Wide Web via a “dial-up” telephone connection. It was slow and the connection sound was as irritating as fingernails on a chalkboard. I haven’t used dial-up internet access for years.

Up until about 15 years ago overhead transparencies were all the rage for presentations. I have done quite a bit of sales and ad design training over the years and overhead transparencies were invaluable. Then PowerPoint came along and I haven’t made or used a transparency since.

I took an interest in photography as a young teenager and have been shooting photos ever since. Over the years I used a LOT of film. For the past 10 to 12 years, however, I haven’t used one roll of film. I love digital photography.

Along those lines, I haven’t used a disposable camera for a long time. I never did like the things but would use one in a pinch. Don’t see many disposable cameras used anymore.

Here’s something else I used to do but don’t anymore ̶ wash my car with a garden hose and a sponge. I am of the opinion that a clean car runs better than a dirty car and dutifully washed my cars with a sponge and garden hose hundreds of times. These days home water rates are high and the automatic car washes do a good job. That reminds me of something else I used to do frequently but haven’t for a long time ̶ wax my car. The current clear coat finishes do an excellent job of protecting the paint but for years I waxed my cars twice a year. Change is the only constant on this old earth and things seem to be changing more rapidly every year.

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