Thursday, January 20, 2011

When I was your age...

My eleven-year-old wants a cell phone.

I said no way.

See, her older sister is getting one, so she now believes that she also "totally needs a phone".  Never mind that her sister is nearly fourteen.  It doesn't matter.  Princess V thinks she's entitled to the same things her sisters get.  When we gave Ro a set of house keys last year, Princess V also wanted keys.  She never comes home to an empty house, so why would she need keys?  But she wanted keys just to have the keys.

And now she wants a phone just for the sake of having one.  And besides, all her friends have one, and she is going to be the only eleven-year-old girl in the whole world without a cell phone, and it's so unfair.....

This merits my "When I was your age..." speech.

I tell her that when I was eleven I couldn't have even imagined a phone that you could take outside the house...let alone have one for myself.

Heck, when I was eleven there were a lot of things I hadn't heard of: Computers, mp3s, DVDs, video games...

When I was eleven, we still had a black and white TV at our house.  All my friends had color TVs, but our black and white one worked why change it?  Needless to say, I did suffer from terrible color-TV-envy at the time...and thought it was terribly unfair that I was the only eleven-year-old in the whole world without a color TV.

I love telling my kids stuff like that.  Their eyes get all wide and they exclaim, "Black and white TV!  No way!"  Then I'll say, "Oh yeah, and the first time I ever touched a computer, I had to save my stuff on cassettes."  "Huh?  Cassettes?  What are those?", they'll ask.

Okay, just kidding...they have seen cassettes before.  But they had no idea that at one time floppy disks were actually, well, floppy.  Come to think of it, they've never used a diskette of any kind.  Nope, these kids are flash drive generation kids.

What I don't tell them is, that ever since I discovered all this wonderful new technology I've been a gadget junkie.  The only thing holding me back is a limited supply of cash...and guilt.  If it still works, why get a new one?  Darned black and white TV lesson!

Despite the shortage of extra cash and the guilt, I've always been attracted to gadgets.

Don't worry, it's not me.
When I was very young, I used to get a huge kick out of my parents' tape recorder, because that was pretty much it for high technology at my house. It would amaze me that I could record whatever I wanted and play it over and over again.  I used to get together with my friends and we would spend hours making up commercials, recording burps, or using it to collect "important evidence" when spying on my sister.

What was I spying for?  Well, just for the fun of it...

....and to make her mad. After all, what are sisters for?

Then there was my first camera.  I think I must have been around Princess V's age when I got it.  I thought I was so cool, taking pictures of all the neighborhood kids making stupid faces and being silly in my backyard.  I used up a whole roll of film the very first day...and all the pictures turned out blurry.  Every single one.  Good thing I have a digital one now.

My kids are all, "Roll of film?  What's that?

Oh, and the electric typewriter.  I thought that was the neatest thing since sliced bread...until I discovered word processors and I left the typewriter to collect dust in the corner.  And what can I say about video games?  I've loved playing video games ever since I first tried space invaders at a friend's house.  Any excuse would do so I could go over and spend hours blowing up as many aliens as possible before getting sat on...or until dinnertime.  Whichever came first.

And cell phones?  Well, don't get me started on phones.  I don't spend a huge amount of money talking on the phone, but I love having a shiny new one in my purse.  And the more fancy tricks it can do the better.  But not because I like to show off or anything.  No, it's because I love to play.  I like putting funny ringtones on my phone, and playing silly little games involving penguins while waiting for the bus.  And I like checking Facebook to see all the "important" news that wasn't there an hour ago...not because I need to, but just because I can.

So, who can blame Princess V for wanting a phone all for herself?

After all, genetics are genetics.

But that isn't going to happen.  At least not yet.  It's Ro's turn first.  And I have the perfect excuse to get a new phone.  Yes!  A shiny new phone for me!

It isn't an iPhone, but it is new and shiny...and it does tricks too!  And best of all, it's cheap, since I'm switching companies.  So my gadget cravings will be satisfied, at least as long as I stay away from all the phone stores.  And I don't have to feel guilty about getting a new one when the old one still works, because Ro will be getting good use out of it.  It's win-win all around.

Except for Princess V, who will have to continue being the "only eleven-year-old girl in the world without a cell phone". At least until the next time I have a itch for a new phone....

Which brings us to a whole new problem.  Both Princess V and Catgirl have called dibs on inheriting this new phone when the time comes.  I haven't even received it yet, and they are already fighting over who gets it once I'm done with it.  But I've signed away my freedom for the next 18 months before I can change again, so they'll have plenty of time to duke it out in the meantime.

And while they're at it, I'll be looking for a new ringtone.  Let's see...drunk chipmunk, chicken mix, Confucius say telefone linging....

Help me guys, which one do I get?


  1. Por favor, qué vieja has sonado, jajajaja, pero es verdad. Uff que difícil yo no se cómo argumentaría a cosas así cuando llegue el momento.

    Vuelvo porque te acabo de leer (tu comentario en mi blog. Y tienes razón, que no daría yo porque fuera tan fácil. Ahhh no te he dicho, llevo 3 días cocinando sin sal, no está tan mal como lo pensé, le estoy echando un montón de hierbas y la verdad que no está mal.

  2. My kids are three years apart (10 and 7) and we have the same issue. Of course, I think it is just a sibling thing. My sister and I are 8 years apart and she used to think she had to keep up with the big girls too.

  3. As a college instructor, I just took "save your papers to disk!" off my syllabus this semester. It's so easy to get stuck in the technological past!

  4. My kids think they're deprived because we don't get expanded cable, even though they have the Internet, Netflix, and seemingly every video game player known to boyhood.

    Recently I sat my oldest down and showed him a bunch of Brady Bunch clips. ("You think you're deprived? When I was a kid, this was one of three kid shows on after school. The others involved stranded castaways and a fat caveman.") He was appropriately horrified.

  5. I was just going to bring up the three channels thing, too. And we also had car wndows we had to ROLL UP AND DOWN. And ICE CUBE TRAYS that had to be emptied and refilled before we could have a few chunks of ice in our drinks. And I don't know about y'all, but at one time, we had a party-line telephone.

    My phone meows. It gets everybody...every time. People will literally be looking around in alarm for the poor little kitten that found its way into the store or the bank...

  6. Haha! Yes, indeed...

    I used to have a tape recorder that I was hugely proud of (saved up and bought it myself!) that looked JUST like that one. And over time it got relegated to being the Sinclair Spectrum's partner so we could (try to) download the games from their cassette tapes.

    Did you tell your Princess that when computer games first arrived you could go and cook lunch while they loaded? LOL!

  7. We got our boys a simple, shared phone when they were 10 and nearly 9. While not every single child at baseball has one, T gets anxious if they end early and he thinks I'm not on my way. They also carry it walking around the neighborhood and volunteering at the museum. It's entirely boring. No games, no internet ~ in fact they can only call Mike or I. Now that T is 12 we're going to upgrade them to my ancient Razr (from 2005, but it works).

    We're total tech geeks as well and my phone *is* an iPhone 4, but they aren't inheriting it for at least 18 months. They each inherited an iPhone 3G but can't use those as phones, just as game machines when given permission, because I'm mean like that. I may be able to think of what they might need a phone for but they definitely don't need the internet in their pockets.

  8. Remember when we passed notes in class? And had to call each other AT HOME if we wanted to talk after school?

    My cell phone can make calls, take low-res photos (although I have no idea what to do with them if I take them) and text (but my plan charges me for every text so I very rarely text). That's it. No internet, no games, no crazy ring tones. I would like to have a "smart phone" but the monthly service charge is out of my budget, so I stick with the old "boring" phone. In fact, I've only owned 3 cell phones in MY ENTIRE LIFE. I see students at work with all kind of fancy sliding keyboards, iPhones, etc. and I feel like such an old fuddy-duddy but I really don't *need* all those bells and whistles so I go without and tell myself I'm being GREEN and SIMPLIFYING MY LIFE. In reality, I'm just broke. :)

  9. When my dad used to give me the, "When I was your age" speech, it was about getting up at 5AM, milking the cows and then walking through a blizzard to school nine miles away. Uphill. Both ways.

    I had to my kids about actually getting up and walking across the room to change the TV channel. Still, they seemed just as horrified as I was.

  10. giozi: A ver, con una hija de casi 16, como no voy a sonar vieja? ;D
    Bien por lo de cocinar sin sal! Te tienes que cuidar, no por la estetica, sino por tu salud. Animo y suerte!

    Asha: Oh it's definitely a sibling thing...but we still have to deal with all the wheedling, and they know that if they keep it up long enough, eventually you'll wear down and give in. Princess V has the promise that next year she'll have a phone, which is over a year earlier than her sisters got one.

    Kate: Well, I'm determined not to get stuck in the technological past...I don't want to end up being one of those people whose kids have to work the remotes for them! :D

    Karen: LOL, my kids actually like The Brady Bunch...scary, isn't it? I guess they get a kick out of just how corny it is.

    ethelmae: Well, we still have ice cube trays at my house, but we never had a party line. Our phone was stuck to the wall when I was a kid, though...and you actually had to dial the numbers. A meowing phone, huh? My kids would love that! We have two cats and it would probably freak them out...or maybe I should get a barking sound... :D

    Jay: The computer I used was a Texas Instruments one, I can't remember the model. Some friends of ours had it, and I used to love going over there to play on it...of course loading the games took up most of the time I was there!

    SAM: But at least they have a reason to have one...Princess V doesn't go anywhere where she has to wait to be picked up, so having a phone is kind of pointless. I do have an old phone saved, that doesn't have internet, and she'll get that next year, when she starts Junior High. You're so lucky to have an iPhone! I wanted to get one, but I would have to spend over 50 euros a month on my contract to get one, and I don't. Either that or shell out the 400 some euros it costs to get an unbranded one, and I can't really justify that. But my new phone is a smartphone, has a good camera, which is what really attracted me, and best of all, it only cost me 30 euros.

    Bud: Ah, the good old days of note passing! Can you imagine doing something like The Saga by texting? I get around the being broke (at least for gadget extras) by temporarily signing my soul away on a contract...I get it back in 18 months...then I'll probably sign it away to another company. :D

    Mike: My family is from Holland, so I got the "going to school by bike in rain, sleet and snow" story. But come to think of it, a lot of kids still do that over there. And our kids will horrify their kids by telling them that they actually had to type to send messages and that they used to watch TV in 2D!

  11. HA!
    Just found your site through LvsLaundry...congrats on the win. I love your blog. Very funny stuff, Ill be back for more.