General Question

yziabites's avatar

What is the thing that you miss doing most before mankind became so high-tech?

Asked by yziabites (104points) July 12th, 2009

from where i came from, brown-outs used to happen a lot. whenever there was no electricity in our neighborhood, my cousins and i would huddle in a corner, just talking and joking and laughing all night till the lights come on again. those were like some of my best memories ever, :)

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22 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Writing letters and sending them through the mail. Few do that any more.

casheroo's avatar

When I was young, we played outside ALL the time. I never see kids outside anymore. I walk around the neighborhood with my son pretty much every day, and it’s rare that we see other children. It’s so bizarre.
We had Sega and Nintendo when I was kid, but you did that at night but it didn’t consume you. (maybe some, but not the people I knew) We’d be outdoors for hours before coming in for dinner with the family, maybe some tv, then bed. I miss those days.
I want my son to be happy, but I don’t like what brings happiness to pre-teens and teens nowadays. They have way too much techie stuff that is completely unnecessary for a child.

JustLeDouxIt's avatar

I’m almost nineteen and still do the things i used to do before all the technology. i still go on long walks through town with my boyfriend just to be outside and enjoy eachother’s company, we go to the park and read, swing in the swings, camp in tents (and not mobile homes. . . that just defeats the purpose of camping), hold bonfires and wenie roasts, play in the rain and mud, we’re out all night with our friends, etc. whenever it’s nice outside, we’re outside. even when it’s raining we’re outside. of course we still use the computer and our phones to keep in touch with our friends and family and research random things, but that’s about it. we thorougly enjoy keeping in touch with our inner child and nature, keeping things simple the way they’re supposed to be.

marinelife's avatar

I miss the ability to be unplugged from everything and not have to have instant reactions. It is much harder now to just go somewhere without your friends or family expecting to get in touch with you if they want to.

Sometimes, I like being alone.

Jeruba's avatar

Correspondence by mail. I used to spend hours at it every week, both writing by hand and typing on the typewriter. It was nowhere near as efficient as e-mail but much more satisfying. I always liked knowing that the letter I received had come directly from the hand of my correspondent.

I also miss the typewriter. The word processor was a great, great boon to me because I was one of those perfectionists who couldn’t stand a messy page and would retype for one mistake—often many times—even when what I was working on was a rough draft. Being able to get a fresh, clean copy and change only the mistakes was miraculous. It was 1982, and the miracles of word processing were just beginning.

But from my first typing experiences as a preschooler on my mother’s old Royal, I loved everything about the typewriter from rolling a sheet of paper into the platen to building exclamation points with two strokes, a period and an apostrophe. I loved hearing my mother’s steady clacking rhythm as she labored over my father’s dissertation. I loved the ting of the end-of-line signal and the businesslike ratchet of the carriage return. Ah, the drama of punching the keys so hard that the periods punctured the paper and the centers of the lowercase o’s fell out. And with a red and black ribbon!

I doted on my Smith-Corona portable, which got me through college, and later I had a real SCM electric that was like driving an automatic after years with a stick shift and standard transmission. But there was never anything more magnificent than the IBM Self-Correcting Selectric II, with the smart carbon ribbon, the interchangeable type elements—giving me a choice of fonts!—and the special correction key that literally lifted off your wrong letter, making your correction invisible.

I wouldn’t go back. No, I wouldn’t. But I think youngsters should have a chance to experience the feel of a real typewriter anyway. Watching pixels on a screen has nothing over seeing your words take form directly on the paper.

augustlan's avatar

@Jeruba I still miss my IBM Selectric! That satisfying feel and sound was something, wasn’t it?

I miss sending and receiving letters in the mail. I miss being unreachable for a while. I loathe the fact that my kids would rather sit at the computer than go outside and just play. I wouldn’t go back either, but I’d like to see the pendulum swing just a little the other way. A happy medium would be lovely.

janbb's avatar

I missed hanging clothes on the line so last year we put up a clothesline and now hang the wash out all summer. I enjoy the job and feel very virtuous for not using the dryer.

I also hate the ubiquity of cell phones and people’s conversations. I miss quiet!

nebule's avatar

being able to slowly absorb knowledge as opposed to it being everywhere and having to absorb it faster

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Everybody stole my answer, especially @casheroo and @Jeruba. Ah yes, the old manual typewriter, thanks @Jeruba for bringing back the sounds and feels and emotions that go with using a typewriter. I’d had many kinds, including this old monster of one that must have weighed forty pounds and was as big as an old 19” CRT computer monitor. I had a couple of portable ones, and finally, an IBM Selectric, which had such a soothing hum when you turned it on, but even then, it had that efficient ‘snap-click’ that preceded the silky click of computer keyboards. I remember banging on the keys of that old monster Royal typewriter with enough force to punch thru the paper as you described, and hard enough to make my fingers hurt.

Having to rewrite an entire page for one mistake, or using liquid white out to fix a misstroke, those were the days. Computers have made my typing skills haphazard, since I can fix an error, or even remove an entire sentence with a simple backspace.

And being outside, @casheroo, no one does that anymore. It’s like some towns are deserted, because you never see anyone out in the parks or riding bicycles down the street, etc. Do kids even climb trees anymore? I spent much of my youth in trees, and playing in creeks, and catching minnows and frogs and snakes and bugs and running like a wild Indian everywhere. Have the ways of my childhood gone the way of the old typewriter? Has technology taken us beyond the creek and the trees and given it to us all pixelated on a lighted screen? How very sad.

marinelife's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra My best answer was already given too. I so miss writing and getting letters. I regularly exchanged 20+ page letters with friends when I was in my 20s for years. I have letters from my high school boyfriends after I went to college. I love epistolary novels. Nothing in current correspondence measures up to the measured eloquence of letters.

aprilsimnel's avatar

There’s nothing that I did lo, these many years ago that I don’t do still.

marinelife's avatar

@aprilsimnel But don’t you find it annoying to have your cell ring just as you are in mid-handcrank on the car starter?

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Marina – Are you talking about one of those horseless carriage contraptions? Oh, heavens, no, no, no!

When I need to assay into town, I simply call for the barouche and the coachman goes wherever I direct him. Rawlings does take good care of the bays.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Actually utilizing my imagination. A bent stick served well as a gun and a straight, pointy stick was a knife. A few branches in the right arrangement was a nice fort. A little hole in the ground was a foxhole. Hmm… come to think of it.. perhaps I was destined to be in the army all along.

Trendge's avatar

Not much of anything. Technology is great!

Nimis's avatar

I miss quiet knowledge. Speaking with others, reading a book, contemplating walks. With the Internet, there seems to be this constant hum of information. A white noise washing over you. And this feeling that if you’re not constantly tapped into it (through one outlet or another), now (as it exists in our cultural continuum) is slipping past you.

Jeruba's avatar

Beautiful response, @Nimis.

Dorkgirl's avatar

I miss dialing the phone with an actual dial. I loved the sound it made when it ticked off the numbers. Dialing 0 and 9 were the best.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Dorkgirl, careful, when you mention a dial phone, people under thirty will look at you oddly, as if you have a third hand growing out of your forehead. I remember our old dial phone, it was neat, but trying to call the radio station to win concert tickets was kind of a pain, as you could only dial so fast.

augustlan's avatar

Does anyone else remember only having one phone in the house? A corded one, with a dial, in the kitchen. Ours had a really long, curly cord that I could stretch all the way to the bathroom if I needed a little privacy.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i miss things that happened before i was born.
when i watch movies from even 30 or 40 years ago, i get so nostalgic. ):
i feel like we’ve lost a lot of the beauty of the world with computers that keep us inside and the obsession with television and the people on it. no one gets lost anymore, nobody writes letters anymore, no one wants to just sit outside.

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