Is this a true or false statement . . .
Well, life used to be full of surprises a generation or two ago. It seems like there is not much anticipation time these days for life's events and daily business.
Think about these general categories:
Dating: Before eHarmony, Match, Facebook, and LinkedIn, there were for-real blind dates. You did not see or learn about the person until you met face-to-face or had a phone conversation. Information was based on word-of-mouth from the person who set you up. Major anticipation.
Newlyweds: Living with a new spouse for the very first time after the wedding--lots of surprises. Not too common any more.
Babies: That anticipated moment when the doctor catches the newborn and exclaims, "It's a BOY" or "It's a GIRL"! Family members were then notified of the gender and name after the birth. Only a mother's intuition revealed anything beforehand.
Teenagers: Parents waited up, because between the time kids left the house until curfew time, they were not reachable by text or phone. I drove a group of girlfriends to an out-of-town basketball game about an hour away senior year of high school. Coming home we chose the wrong direction, headed south instead of north, sort of making a complete circle to return. Our parents had no way to contact us to find out why we were not pulling into the driveway at the anticipated time, rather than waaaay late, like 2 a.m.
College Acceptance: Running to the mailbox awaiting that thick oversized envelope from the university of choice. Now the news is shared with a simple login. There is still anticipation, but goodness the results come so much faster.
Who's calling: There was a house phone for the whole family. No caller-ID, no VM or answering machine, no call waiting. The identity of the caller was a surprise every time the phone rang.
Mailbox: It was nice to anticipate the daily postal mail with correspondence from friends and loved ones on a regular basis. I have kept every letter my mom wrote to me the first year I moved away from home. I'll always cherish those. I was so homesick.
Tractor technology: My dad drove mostly old John Deere tractors on the farm, and it was such a big deal when he got his first cab tractor with air conditioning. How cool that farmers now have cell phones, GPS, and info screens. Many times, I remember my mom had to drive out to the fields to find Dad because there was no way to reach him if he was late for dinner, and she would try to hide her panic, worrying that he had been in a farm accident.
Annual Christmas letter: A year's worth of news was saved up to share with distant relatives and old friends. Now all of that plus a lot more is OVERshared on a regular basis with social media.
What is my credit card balance? I check my account online every morning. Remember waiting for the monthly statement to come in the mail?
I need to deposit my (paper) paycheck. I've had direct deposit for over 30 years, but I do remember back when my paycheck was handed to me, and I then had to
Did the check clear? Online banking has eliminated the need for a checkbook and checkbook registry. Our accounts are always up-to-date with the rare surprise.
Household and General Information
Beeping appliances: All of our household appliances chime/beep/chirp when their cycle is complete. Very annoying sometimes, but we know when the dryer has finished tumbling and the coffee is brewed!
I hope there's ice: Our fridge makes ice as fast as I can use it. Remember filling ice cube trays? Most of the time they were empty when really needed.
Photos: Oh the anticipation of waiting on a 24 roll of Kodak film to be developed, usually by mail-order. It would be several weeks before the photos were returned, and in my case it would net about three great, unblurry photos. "I'll share my vacation photos with you once I get them organized into a scrapbook," we used to say. Now it's one, two, three, FACEBOOK!
Time and temperature: There was a phone number we dialed (from the house phone), sponsored by a bank, that would announce the correct time and current temperature. That info was not readily available at our fingertips. The other way to get the current temperature was to drive by the big bank on the corner of Main Street and look up at its scrolling electronic message display.
Weather forecast: Available through the Farmers' Almanac or local weatherman. We did not have access to snazzy Doppler Radar apps predicting when the rain would fall.
Am I lost? It's still possible to be lost, but with GPS guidance, the correct route is quickly available. Remember the printed AAA TripTiks?
Where were you when you heard the news? Now almost all of us are learning about breaking news stories at the same moment--when the notifications start coming through our phones.
Bon Voyage: Did the flight arrive on time? No news is good news. But now we can FlightAware-it from takeoff to landing.
I'm dying to read that new bestseller: My name would have been on the local library's wait-list for a month or three; now in 30 seconds or less, I can download it to my tablet.
Test results: professional exams, lab results from the doctor . . . very little wait time to know if you passed.
2-day delivery: Instead of waiting for a slow catalog mail-order delivery, Amazon Prime seems even not immediate enough.
Facts: I'll need to research that topic with the encyclopedia, but we don't have a set at home. Or, I can ask Siri. Need a quick medical diagnosis? WebMD is too convenient (my symptoms always show that I'm either pregnant or gravely ill).
And finally, Knitting: If I didn't have access to YouTube videos and knitter forums, I would have given up on this damn hobby a long time ago!
Now, I'm not THAT old! This shows how things have changed in our lives so much in a relatively short amount of time, almost all for the better. My parents have both been gone for a long time, and I often think about how amazed they would be to see how the world runs today.
Can you think of other surprises we no longer have to wait for?