Sunday, December 14, 2014

End of the Year Ruminations, Part 1

My birthday is in June, so for me December is my "halfway to my next birthday" point, as well as the end of the year. It's a time to evaluate where I am and where I'm going, and maybe set some new goals to aim for before my personal odometer clicks over into another year.

I am fifty-six and a half at the end of December. That half year was so important when we were kids, wasn't it? I'm not NINE, I'm almost TEN!  Now it's far less important, but I still tend to think that way. I will be 57 in June. This somehow feels different than 55 did. I look in the mirror and wonder why I'm looking at a picture of my mother. I look more like her every year, and I've decided that I don't mind. Despite her psychological issues that shadowed her life and mine (someday I'll find time to write about that) she remained a pleasant looking woman well into her 70s. It could be worse. I colored my hair yesterday and damn, my roots are coming in white. Not gray, white. I find this kind of interesting, because my father's hair was white in his late 70s, and my mother died at 83 with still mostly brown to steel gray hair. If I didn't color mine, I'd be rockin' the Emmylou Harris silver before 60, and white hair at this age is not the norm in my gene pool. I started finding my first white hairs in my 40s when my husband was dying, and I've become a believer in that old wives' tale of stress turning a person prematurely gray. I toy with the idea of letting my hair go naturally silver, but when I floated the idea with the girl who cuts my hair, she made a face and shook her head. No, not yet. And I've concluded that if I have to be in the work force with people decades younger than me, it's probably best not to remind them too forcefully that I'm old enough to be the head of IT's mother. Which I am, biologically speaking. And yes, that realization was...startling.

I listen to a lot of audiobooks on my commute, and recently finished an old Patricia Cornwell novel, actually the first in the very long Kay Scarpetta series: Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries) I remember reading this series when it was new, over 20 years ago (1990) but plots of old novels fell out of my head when I had the aneurysm, so they're almost new to me. (This is actually a bit of an advantage, because I can remember liking the series while getting to read them all over again as if I'd never read them at all.)

It's held up well as a story, but I was jarred to realize how far we've come technologically in the last 25 years. A computer break-in is part of the story, and the description of how computers were used back in the day was, um, nostalgic. Computer networks were "dumb terminals" attached to mainframes. Dial-up modems. Typing commands at the C prompt. Of course no cell phones, no internet, and people got their news from evening newspapers! Remember when newspapers had morning and evening editions? And I was struck by how long ago 1990 really was, and again by how I was in the work force as an adult, working with that now very antiquated technology, in 1990, when our IT guy was in high school. It's moments like this that make me realize that yes, I really am the age it says on my driver's license. Most of the time I feel like I'm around 40, and I intend to do whatever I can to maintain that happy fiction as long as possible.

And now this crappy laptop is threatening to shut down, because among its many charms it has really crappy battery life. One of these days I really will throw it off the balcony. More to follow, including dog show pictures!


Anonymous said...

I have a special fondness for detective stories, usually set in the English country side, between the wars, and the Great Detective would have to send the most junior local constable racing off on his bicycle to find the nearest phone - possibly at the Vicarage in the next village.
When I was a small child our house was the only one in the street equipped with a phone (postwar lag in infrastructure) and the business my father worked for organised it, because Dad was the closest key holder in case the police were called to a break in at the factory. It was one of those 'daffodil' phones with the mouthpiece at the top of a 'stalk', and the ear piece separate on a length of cord, hanging on a hook on the side of the 'stalk'.

Gae, in Callala Bay

ellen kirkendall said...

I find a lot of book/movie plots don't hold up well because some part of the drama hinges on missed connections which do not happen now in the day of cell phones. An Affair to Remember comes immediately to mind. A lot of technology has changed in the past 20 years!

Catherine said...

This book really illustrated the changes in the last couple of decades! A lot of the plot involved technical things that were state of the art in 1990 and are now completely obsolete.

Brenda said...

My family & I watched "Bullit" with Steve McQueen a few weekends ago---the bad guy was going along in a cab and had the driver pull over to the curb so he could get out and use a pay phone. None of us could even remember the last time we've seen a pay phone anywhere. (Although I must say that even though he's been gone over thirty years now, Steve and that Mustang are truly timeless---those blue eyes and that huge V8 will never be outdated.)