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jca2's avatar

Do you do any of these things that indicate that you are old?

Asked by jca2 (16384points) July 19th, 2021

Today on the radio, they were talking about the results of a survey. The survey was about things that indicate that people are old. Part of the list is as follows:

Using cash
Getting bills through the mail/paying by check
Having fancy cutlery and tableware for holidays and special occasions
Writing lists with pen and paper
Calling for a taxi instead of using an app
Watching actual TV
Still being on Facebook
Reading books
Talking on the phone

Do you do any of the things on the list?

I use cash maybe half the time. It depends on where I am and what the total is. If I’m in a sketchy place (for example a gas station in a sketchy neighborhood) or if the total of something is small, like a coffee shop, I’ll use cash.

I write lists with pen and paper all the time. I’m on Facebook. I don’t use different tableware for special occasions. I talk on the phone, watch TV and read books, but don’t smoke, I think sometimes talking on the phone can be easier than texting, depending on what has to be said and how lengthy it is. I actually prefer texting for details and because there’s a record of what was said, and when.

I guess according to this list, I’m old. I’m in my mid-50’s.

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62 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

Using cash
Umm… I first used cash when I was 5 years old. Does that mean I was an old 5-year-old? :D

But if they said “thinking twice when using cash” that would be a different story.

Getting bills through the mail/paying by check
That one would have been a good item. The problem is that in my place we just don’t get bills in the mail. We have to either physically go to the place or recently pay through an app. So no.

Having fancy cutlery and tableware for holidays and special occasions
For what? I can see some people doing that, but I’m a practical person and I don’t want to spend money on things that can only be used a few times a year, especially when I don’t have guests in the house.

Writing lists with pen and paper
I used to, when I was younger. Now I mostly write with my phone. It helps me track things better.

Umm… This one is just ridiculous to me. Why do I have to risk my health and everyone else’s just to feel old?

Calling for a taxi instead of using an app
My family has been calling taxis since forever. Recent we changed to an app because taxi service is disappearing. I don’t even rely on taxis. Whenever I need to go somewhere, I go by myself.

Watching actual TV
That’s what we do every meal. In fact, I last watched TV last night.

Still being on Facebook
I think you know the answer :D

Reading books
I read books when I was young. I still do. Does that mean I was old 20 years ago?

Talking on the phone
Of course! It’s not like people are available online 24/24.

So, to sum up, I think this list is just… not that good. It’s one of those “10 things you need to do to be mature” kinds of things.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I guess I have one foot in the grave, and the other on a banana peel. I do all of the above, other than a lot of talking on the phone. Once I get people on, they won’t shut up. I prefer texting. And I’m not meaning this in a sexist sense, because I can honestly say that in my experience, men are worse jabberwockies on the phone than women ever were. I get my boss on the phone and he won’t shut up. My old high school buddy, ditto. I don’t have time to sit on my phone for an hour talking about a beer party we went to 50 years or more ago. And we have the fancy dining ware but never use it.

Jeruba's avatar

I do all of them but these:

Watching actual TV
Still being on Facebook

I quit smoking in 1989.

And I quit watching TV decades ago because I stopped enjoying it right around the time that STNG went off the air. By then it was the only show I’d watched for years.

I was never active on Facebook and I hardly ever look at it unless someone makes me.

I’ve had to revert to paper bills to get out of the morass of confusion my late husband left me, with bills he paid online from notices he received in his personal email accounts and bills he had automatically charged to accounts I couldn’t access. I just find charges popping up here and there, $96 this and $165 that, for stuff I was unaware of and have to spend quantities of time tracking down, canceling, and getting refunded. I am still straightening out those messes six months later. And you know what? I don’t want to leave a snarl like that for whoever cleans up after me. The answer is paper.

cookieman's avatar

My daughter is eighteen and makes lists and notes on paper and is on Facebook.

Hang on while I tell her she’s old.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I must be really old I do 6 out of the 10 items you listed.

flutherother's avatar

Using cash
I still carry cash but rarely use it apart from donations

Writing lists with pen and paper
Mostly shopping lists

Watching actual TV
Yes, if catch-up TV counts

Still being on Facebook
Barely, but I’m still there

Reading books
Partly done on my Kindle

Talking on the phone
I don’t use a landline but speak through an app

PS, I was brought up in the Stone Age but love the new technology.

JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t used much cash in the last 35 years. I started using credit cards in my teens to save money (interest rates were better back then in savings accounts). Once I graduated college in 1990 then I became practically cashless.

I finally am getting away from bills through the mail. I haven’t paid with checks in years, although there are a few rare exceptions.

I do have cutlery and tableware for holidays and special occasions.

I write lists with pen and paper. I also make some lists in my phone, but I find pen and paper works better.

I don’t smoke. That’s great that young people rarely smoke. Although, it seems to me much older people rarely do too. I guess a lot of them quit by their 60’s. I wonder the statistics on that. Where I live (55 and up in Florida) it’s extremely rare to see a cigarette. I was in Tennessee a few weeks ago and was struck by the young employees at the hotel taking a smoking break right outside the lobby doors. That was my greeting basically. On Marriott (Residence Inn) property!

I would call a taxi. Although, I usually use online for airport shuttles.

Yes, I watch actual TV.

I’m on Facebook.

I have never read books except on very rare occasion. I know a lot of young people who love to read books. Do they mean the actual physical book instead of an ebook?

I talk on the phone.

canidmajor's avatar

The olditude of me is obvious just by looking at me, (not to mention that I know the year I was born), I don’t need a bizarre list. I do most of the things (quit smoking 10 years ago, I have silver flatware but it’s a pain to deal with so it stays in the box).

By reading books do they mean reading paper books? Most of the older people I know use an ereader, we can change the font size and get extra light on the material.

They forgot “you still have an AOL email address” and “you still try to buy incandescent light bulbs” on their rather silly list.

jca2's avatar

@canidmajor: I still have an AOL email address! hahaha!

gondwanalon's avatar

I do most of the items on your list.
Also I listen to cassette and reel to reel tapes as well as vinyl records. While on vacation I listen to my iPod with ear buds.

chyna's avatar

I do all of them but smoke or call a taxi. I wouldn’t know how to use Uber or call a taxi.
I still pay all of my bills by check, which I mail. And I still have an aol email.
I’m old!

product's avatar

I’m “old” (49 going on 85), but definitely don’t do a single thing on that list. According to my kids, however, I’m a boomer as a result of all of my other habits.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Old is a state of mind to me, but I do write lists and read books, and still have my Facebook. I’m in my 40’s.

canidmajor's avatar

And really, so what? This kind of thing (and lordy, it’s sooo pervasive!) really perpetuates what @janbb was talking about in her Q:

Yeah, “it’s all in good fun!” and “really, why are you so sensitive (for pointing out that this promotes the pejorative aspect)?”

The devaluation (mocking, ignoring, condescending to) of any demographic based on physical criteria supports all of it.


canidmajor's avatar

Watching the launch of Bezos thing right now. With 82 year old Wally Funk aboard. Gotta wonder how she would respond to this list.

I am very excited about one of the Mercury 13 finally getting her chance. :-)

JLeslie's avatar

I’d say sometimes the old way is the better way for some things and practices sometimes revert back. It will be interesting to see ten years from now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@chyna…don’t you have to pay for AOL?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Many of my bills are on auto pay.
My utility bill is not. I used to be able to call it in, then they started charging a fee for using credit or debit. Now I just write a check and hop down to the utility office because that’s free. And they like visiting Cato.
Maybe being such a penny pincher (I save, like, $1.50) makes me old.

I rarely use cash. I hate having boat loads of cash and change hanging around because I have no place to put it. I quit carrying a purse in 2016.

chyna's avatar

No, AOL is free.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My Dad’s wife pays $10 a month, which is crazy. They’ve had that service since the late 90s.

Zaku's avatar

Those are mostly jokes, but I do all of them except smoking and watching broadcast/cable TV.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I make my lists in text and send them to myself.

chyna's avatar

@Dutchess_lll. She needs to call them and cancel the paid email. That’s ridiculous! 120.00 a year for something they offer for free. I’ve had it since 2000 and I did pay for it for a couple of years, but then they offered it for free but you had to call and tell them.
@JCA Sorry to derail the thread.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I HAVE told her. I’ve told her about Gmail and yahoo, too. She says no. She’s sticking with AOL. It’s what she knows.
She’s scared of computers and scared of Facebook.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Damn! And people think we Boomers are old? That’s freaking ancient! Like an old girlfriend once referred to both our sets of parents, that’s Jurassic shit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

She’s actually a boomer. Only 8 years older than me.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

That must have been awkward. But you do what ya have to do for your dad, passed away or not. I get ya. Helping her out was kind of you. KUDOS

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was in Florida for 2 weeks recently helping take care of her after she had a nasty fall. Just got back 2 weeks ago.
My daughter is there now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

BTW. Her and dad were married for something like 30 years, until he passed in 2005.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I get ya. Not your mom, but I think ya’ll did the right thing. Just my two cents.

Demosthenes's avatar

I use cash at places that don’t take cards but I otherwise rarely use it.

I am still on Facebook as I joined in high school when it was the latest trendiest thing but I admittedly rarely use it now. I recently updated my profile picture after four years.

The main one that applies to me is reading books. I read actual paper books constantly (around 30–40 books a year).

I also have a large record and CD collection. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Using checks is a bigger sign of being old than using cash. Using checks and not filling out the lines that can be filled out ahead of time, instead waiting for the total before you start writing.

jca2's avatar

@chyna: No problem. That’s why I like posting in “Social.” I like when threads meander.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Using cash – - only for tips

Getting bills through the mail/paying by check – - 80% of bills paid on-line

Having fancy cutlery and tableware for holidays and special occasions – - No

Writing lists with pen and paper – - Guilty

Smoking – - Quit in 1987

Calling for a taxi instead of using an app – - Don’t use Uber or taxi.

Watching actual TV – - Yes

Still being on Facebook – - Yes

Reading books – - Once and awhile

Talking on the phone – - Yes but text or e-mail mostly

Jeruba's avatar

And I still use pencils, which don’t plug in and don’t require batteries. They do require sharpening. I have an electric pencil sharpener at my desk, and there’s an old mechanical rotary pencil sharpener at my husband’s desk. But in a pinch, a pocket knife will do.

I have one of those, too.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I just have a small handheld sharpener, but it works just fine. I usually write with a pen, but I use pencils when drawing something out. Do you use pencils primarily? Over using a pen?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Potato peeler works too.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I don’t consider it old to be prepared should technology shut down.

Using Cash:
I always carry cash on me in case of emergencies
( recommended by Survival procedures should wild fires or some other disaster happens, since all power would be out.)
Also taxi in Town only take Cash.

Writing lists pen and paper:
Grocery list
Outline for a book/project
Writing actual cards for Birthdays/Anniversaries etc.

Watching TV;
Documentaries of interest
Outlander Tv series since I read all 8 books and await final 9th book TV series.
News, Local and international
Weather alerts
Dr. Phil Show. One can always learn new things
Spa Music on TV , relaxing to wind down.

Coronation Street series as I got interested in this for a couple of years now. Engrossing as it can show examples of life and more importantly on how the writers wrote it.( learning how to write my family history in story form .

On Facebook: joined several international and national Genealogy groups that connect with amateur and Professional researchers ..that in the past had referred me to there Archives available online several profitable leads that expanded my family pedigree.

Connect with friends, relatives

Talking on the Phone: ( cellphone) Always nice to hear a friendly voice to catch up with.

anniereborn's avatar

Covid mostly cured me of using cash. Money is quite dirty.
I pay all my bills online.
I have never had fancy cutlery or any reason to have any.
I most certainly do use pen and paper for lists, and appts on a real paper calendar.
The only time I ever use a taxi is in Chicago at which point i just “hail one”.
I’ve never smoked.
I am very active on Facebook. It is how I keep in contact with a lot of people. I do quite a bit of instant messaging on there. I prefer actual phone calls to people I am close to like family.
I haven’t had “actual TV” since like 2000.
I don’t read many books but when I do they are the paper kind.

BTW, I still just have a flip phone and and landline and am 53.

JLeslie's avatar

I have a landline too. Well, a household line. It’s not a copper line like the old days. I wish it was. I’m also 53.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Much worse than talking on the phone is leaving voice mail. A text usually conveys the same message in a fraction of the time.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

Until I got to the last four, I found that I rarely or never do any of the others. In fact, the only one I really do besides the last four is the using cash thing. And even then it’s very seldom. Only if I have a very specific reason to get cash out of the bank and then maybe I have some on hand still afterwards, will I use the cash.

But I still actually watch TV, because I sit downstairs in the evening to keep my one cat company who doesn’t seem to like to come upstairs. And on that TV, at least for now, there’s no cable or anything.
But reading books? You better believe it! I have a Kindle, but I really like to hold real books in my hand and read them. I don’t think I will ever give that up.
Talking on the phone? Not a whole lot, but I do still do it occasionally. I use it at my job because we have people calling about things. And sometimes if I’m making plans with my sister, it’s just easier to talk on the phone than to try and message back and forth. Most importantly, I call my mom at the home as much as I can. She was never tech minded, and even if she had been, she couldn’t manage it nowadays.
And I am still on Facebook. I have a couple of cat groups I belong to, I stay in touch with friends and some family members that live further away. I like to follow the weather, and I love volcanoes, so now I’ve gotten all interested in Iceland. I definitely see how horrible Facebook can be, but I wouldn’t want to give it up even still just because of how I personally use it.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

@JLeslie they say it’s good to have a landline anyway, preferably not a cordless one, in case the power goes out and your cell phone battery dies. Because then you can still make a phone call if you need to.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

@Jeruba… Interesting take on the paper bills, although my situation is different than yours. When my mom started going downhill mentally, it came to light that she hadn’t been paying a lot of her bills. Or, she thought she was writing them correctly but then she wouldn’t address them correctly and they came back undeliverable. She would never let me help her, not even as far as addressing the envelopes, and it was so frustrating because I could see stuff getting more and more screwed up and she wouldn’t let me help.
Finally, when she went in the hospital right before Christmas, I asked her on the phone if I could try and organize her bills a bit. I think it started because she asked me to look for something or other in her file cabinet. Well when I pulled everything out, it was a jumbled mess. She had bills from 3 or 4 months back, and I didn’t even know which ones had actually been paid. She had random envelopes everywhere, and who knew what went with what bill. So I think that’s what prompted me to ask her if I could help her. The problem was, I really wanted to get stuff paid off for her as soon as possible, but I didn’t actually know what she owed, because in a lot of cases, she didn’t have the most recent bill. And if she had sent the bill off without the statement, then it might very well be paid, but there was no way to know.
(By the way, with her consent, I paid the bills online whenever possible with her bank account. At any rate, I couldn’t have made checks out in her name, and while I wish I was rich enough to pay her bills myself, I’m actually not financially well off at all, so I would not have been able to do that at all.)
But everything was easier once I started setting up online accounts for her with each of her bills, mainly utilities but also some of her medical bills that she had, which were usually stupid little bills for $5 or $10, because Medicare didn’t cover that last little bit. I always wondered if they spent more money emailing out bills for the small amounts then they would have if they had just forgotten the last couple of dollars and forgiven the debt.
But once I set up her online account with the different people owed, then I could see exactly what she did owe. So then I knew I was paying the right amount. She’s now in a nursing home but I continue to pay what few bills she has left using these methods. She’s aware and she’s fine with that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I want a landlines so I know exactly where the phone is in case of emergency. But alas. I haven’t had one since 2006.

What is this copper wire you speak of @JLeslie?

JLeslie's avatar

A copper line is the old fashioned phone lines that I don’t think are put into any new housing developments. If your electricity went out your phone still worked if the phone was plugged into the wall jack and not a portable phone. I’ve gone through hurricanes where I lost power for over a week, but my phone was still working.

If you have a “landline” through your cable company or fiber optics you need electricity for your phone to work. You can get a battery back up, but it lasts less than a day from what I understand. The phone still plugs into the same wall jack, but the wiring is not like the old days.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: I hadn’t used my home phone in a few years but it’s part of a bundle so I kept it (that, and some of my mom’s messages are on the voicemail so I want to record them before I decide to get rid of the home phone). Recently I was having cell phone problems so I decided to get the cable company to repair my jack so I could plug a landline in. The cable guy said the way to get rid of crackling is to plug the phone directly into the modem. He did it for me, voila, instant phone. The problem is, though, that like you said, if the power goes out there’s no phone (which is one of my reasons for having a landline).

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 You most likely don’t have phone no matter where you plug it in if the electricity goes out, unless you have battery back up. The cable bundle usually means electricity in the house is necessary.

You probably do have copper lines since your house is so old, but you would need to get phone through Ma Bell or one of the old services that you probably switched from when you did your cable bundle.

You can ask your cable company if your phone works if the electricity goes out if you want to bother.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: I know i have a working jack but it’s behind my headboard. I have (or had) another jack in the kitchen but i think the cable guy was too lazy to fix it, so he just showed me how to plug directly to the modem. That’s good enough for now, and if the power goes out I’ll have to deal with it.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m just saying the jack still needs electricity most likely if you’re bundled with cable.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: I know. I agree with you.

canidmajor's avatar

OK, Here’s a test of old. Remembering still having phone service when the power went out, the phone was on a different system altogether.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@canidmajor I remember that. When I was 10 or 11, there was a powerful storm coming to my place and practically destroyed the power system. We lived in the dark for more than a week.

Now before that happened I discovered this phone service that provided random radio entertainment, from daily news to audio stories. I was really into the horror stories they provided. So when the power went out, one of my guilty pleasure was dialing the number and listening to ghost stories in the dark. My heart was always racing, because of the intensity of the stories and because of fear of being discovered by my parents for increasing our phone bill.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor The system still exists in many places in the US. The old copper lines are still around and there are still companies offering the service, but companies like AT&T are pushing for legislation to abandon them altogether. I don’t know the status. I think some states have gone along with it. My house is too new, I don’t even have the option.

It seems to me, and this is just assumption, that the pay phones and emergency phones that still exist in rural areas would be best kept on copper lines, but I don’t have a full understanding of the voice over lines and if there is a way to keep them working during a power outage for emergency services.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

@JLeslie that’s one problem with all these new services. For awhile, Verizon still had the traditional landline, even if you had the FIOS bundled package. Now, it’s all tied in together.

seawulf575's avatar

Cash: half and half. Sometimes I use it, other times it plastic.

Bills in the mail: yes. Electronically they often get buried in all the spam that clutters everyone’s inbox Pay by check: no

Fancy table ware: Sort of. We own very nice china. It has been in a box in the shed for the past 10 years.

Writing lists on paper: Absolutely. I write more quickly than I can type it on my phone.

Smoking: Not since about 1986

Taxi instead of app: Nope. I always have a DD.

Actual TV: Are you talking about with an antenna? No.

Facebook: I had an account when it first started. About 3 months in I realized what a waste of time it was and canceled my account.

Reading books: All the time. I sometimes use my e-reader or an app on my phone, but still love the feel of a book in my hands.

Talking on the phone: landline? Nope. Cell phone? Yep.

jca2's avatar

Sometimes someone will call me and if I’m traveling or busy or too tired to talk, I’ll text them and suggest they text or email me. Then I can read it and respond when it’s convenient and they can do the same. I will usually respond within a few hours but at least it doesn’t take the energy that a phone call does.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Tapping on a micro key board is less energy than just talking on the phone?
Or you can text them saying, too busy right now call back in a few hours type thing.

jca2's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: I had a friend call yesterday when I was lost, driving on vacation. I texted her back and said I’m lost and I told her what I was doing. I suggested she text or email me. She emailed me and when I got back to the hotel, I responded. For me to call her would have meant I probably wouldn’t have had the energy to do it until evening, if at all, because we didn’t get back until after 7, and at that point I was tired.

Today another friend texted when we were driving home from vacation. She told me to call her when I got home. I’m home now but just too tired to talk. I am really busy tomorrow all day doing various things and I think it might not be until Friday that I will have time or energy to call her. If she just emailed me, I could easily type and respond.

I use computer to email and I’m a great typist so I can type type type away really quickly. Phone keyboard is harder but still, right now I think that would be easier than a phone call.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @jca2 that text or email is so much more convenient when something is not urgent. It gives the person responding the chance to respond at their convenience. Sometimes when I am texting I ask if it is ok to call if it would be easier to talk, and then the person can say yes or no or when they are free.

I think there are people who feel like a text, email, or even phone call for that matter needs to be responded to immediately. Take my dad, he gets annoyed that I don’t always pick up the phone. Mind you I don’t even look at the caller ID half the time, I don’t even know who is calling, but if I am in the middle of something or exhausted, I will just let it ring. He feels obligated to pick up the phone. That’s his problem, but then he also expects it of others.

I write “urgent” if it is something urgent, otherwise, if it takes someone all day to respond, or they forget to respond, I don’t care, I figure they are busy. Most of my conversations are not urgent with friends and family. Work is different. If it happens too often I might wonder if they are avoiding me I guess, but usually it is an on and of thing. A person might respond to my texts right away three times in a row, and then the next one I don’t get a response.

Think about it like fluther. We write a Q, and sometimes people don’t respond right away.

downtide's avatar

Well I’m 54, I don’t know if that counts as “old”.

I haven’t used cash since lockdown (but if Covid hadn’t happened I would probably still be using it)

I pay all my bills online or by direct debit, haven’t seen a chequebook in about 20 years.

I have never owned fancy cutlery or tableware.

I write all my “lists” on my phone

Quit smoking in 2012.

Never use taxis, they are far too expensive.

We own an actual TV but I rarely watch it. I don’t watch netflix or anything else either, I can always find something better to do.

I still have a Facebook account, which I abandoned for years but recently came back to. I read, but never post.

Rarely read paper books these days, digital ones are easier on my eyes.

I try to avoid talking on the phone except in emergencies. I have always hated it. Would much rather send a text or an email.

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