Wednesday, December 01, 2010

1980


In a coffee shop the other day, a group of five or six African-American businessmen at the next table caught my interest. First of all, they were talking about substantive things-not just sports or their jobs. They were really talking. I rarely hear men do this.

One man, a guy about my age or younger, said, "There is nothing I would miss if I suddenly found myself in 1980 again." The other men chuckled their semi-agreement.

"I'd get out my slide rule and soldier on,"he went on to say.

"Your what?" a younger guy asked, more than half-serious.

What about you? What would you miss if you were back in 1980 tomorrow? And please don't say you weren't born yet. Use your imagination.

My guilty pleasure movie is at Crimespree Cinema--and it is a real guilty pleasure.
Please forgive me for not stopping by much this week. Hopefully next week will return to normal. These posts were up before the roof fell in.

37 comments:

David Cranmer said...

My wife and the internet.I'm addicted to both.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I could not give up the people I have met via the Internet.

R/T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What would I miss? Well, retirement for one.

But as far as material things go: yes, the internet. Also, the DVR. The end of 1980 was when we bought our first, crude, very expensive VCR. This is so much better.

Cell phones I would not miss at all, although they certainly come in handy at times.

Jeff M.

Sarah Laurence said...

I'm with David, I'd miss my husband and the internet. I'd also miss our kids, new friends, blog buddies and my laptop.

Richard Prosch said...

I would miss the ubiquity of good coffee and good coffee-shops.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I guess I was thinking more of the way we live rather than who we live with. Like slide rules v. computer programs.

Anonymous said...

Patti - Oh, I love these questions you pose! If I were in 1980 again, the thing I would miss the most (I mean, besides so many people I love) would be the Internet. And cell 'phones. Most definitely.

Mike Dennis said...

I would miss the absolutely-no-comparison ease of writing on a computer.

I would miss MAD MEN, DEXTER, and Turner Classic Movies.

I would miss the Florida Marlins.

I would miss unlimited long distance.

I would miss everything I've learned since then, along with all the places I've lived and seen.

Dan Fleming said...

I'm with Mike on nearly every count. I'd miss the excellent cable tv shows, the computer, and not owing my parents $50 for calls I'd made to other towns. However, since I am a Chicago Cubs fan, I would not miss the Florida Marlins. I will never forgive them.

Clair Dickson said...

The internet (particularly broadband access to the modern world wide web.)

I'd also miss Office2010, which I do think is my favorite version of Office so far, and I was really in love with 2003 for many years.

I'd miss my DVR, which is by far the best way to record anything.

I would not miss fuel-injected manual transmision cars. I really liked knowing that, with my older stick shift cars, I could pop the clutch and start the car up again. This isn't possible with the new fancy models-- traded for what? The ability to waste gas at a faster rate, I mean "more horsepower."

Todd Mason said...

Well, I guess if this was a fantasy in which I'm back in 1980 with my 2010 knowledge (and my 1980 body), I wouldn't miss the internet (so much as the Web) since that's already in place and on the cusp of really blowing up, with the Vic-20s and such, nor would I be using a slide rule so much as a good Texa Instruments (or possibly HP) calculator. I would certainly miss smoke-free environments, including airplanes, and I would miss effective medication for some of the emerging diseases. 12" videodiscs and emerging cable channels would be less novel than they were, three decades ago, but just about as hit and miss...I would miss music without surface noise or tape hiss, which makes up for the occasionally bad compression of digital media...but I wouldn't miss it for long. Particularly in 1980, I would've been in the market for actually effective acne medication, something I'd needed since 1974 and fourth grade, but Really needed by 1978 and adolescence at its height.

Despite the ills and responsibilities attendant, adulthood has been Way the hell better than childhood and adolescence.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

I'd certainly miss my computer; I always despised beating out long stories on typewriters, only to then have to turn around and retype them in order that they were more readable.

I would also miss CDs and DVDs. And all of the excellent books I've read since 1980 came and went.

Cheers,
Jeff

Deb said...

I would miss the ubiquity of ATMs and the convenience of having ready access to money (what little I have). I remember in the early 1980s every Friday having to decide how much money I would need for the weekend and then standing in line at the bank during my lunch break. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world when Ralph's Grocery chain started allowing shoppers to write a check for over the amount of the grocery bill so you could get--gasp!--cash back.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I would miss knowing YOU.

Todd Mason said...

The Web certainly makes virtual conversation much easier than BBSes did.

Todd Mason said...

And they faster than fanzines did and still do.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

That was the year I got a new job and almost doubled my income. I had very little going into that year and a lot coming out of it. Like my first new car. I wish I could have more years like that.

MysterLynch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MysterLynch said...

1980? I was a bare-faced lad of 11. Truth be told, I don't remember too much about 1980.

Were I to go back to the early to mid 80s, there are a number of bands that I would attempt to see live. Bands that I missed and now view as legendary.

Anders Engwall said...

Dentistry is a lot better today - not that I hardly ever need it. However, when I recently had an old filling replaced I was stunned by how easily it was done. It really seemed not much more complicated than having the fingernails cut.

Cleaning equipment has also improved a great deal, especially floor mops.

And on an entirely different level I'd miss democracy in eastern Europe.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And that kind of says it all, Anders. However, the world felt safer in other ways--pre-terrorism for the most part.

Naomi Johnson said...

I would miss my driver's license - I didn't get it until 1987.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

I would miss having a Democratic president (well, okay, but Carter was almost out); I would miss a hell of a lot of rights for queer people (among others); I would miss the internet and decent-sized computers; I would miss recycling.

I would not miss cellphones.

Anonymous said...

Deb, excellent point about ATMs! Used to be that banks closed at 3 (except Thursday evenings) and only were open half a day on Saturdays. Now we have 24/7 access to our money.

Online banking is something else I'd miss. I can check my accounts and have them pay my bills directly, which is a good thing (as Martha S. would say).

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember going to the drugstore and buying something so they would cash a check for $25 (their top amount) sometimes in the seventies. No way else to get money between Friday and Monday. Real pain. After that you dug in the sofa and chairs.

Anonymous said...

My fiddle-free hearing horns! I remember my grandmother struggling, never quite getting her hearing aids to work well enough.

And the internet.

Michel

Ron Scheer said...

Your question (good one, again) reminds me of Rick Moody's novel THE ICE STORM, which begins with a long list of stuff in 1994 that didn't exist in 1973. It's a helluva list, and you could double the length of it today.

There's also the scene in WHEN PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED, when Katherine Turner goes into a 1950s drug store to buy a pair of panty hose.

If I'd had the Internet in 1980, I'd still be living in a small college town in Pennsylvania. There wouldn't have been any reason to leave.

Loved the "slide rule" comment.

Mike Dennis said...

Dan--I know what you mean about not missing the Marlins, but frankly, you shouldn't really miss the Cubs either, given their long trail of heartbreak and futility.

Todd Mason said...

Sadly, terrorism was in full flower in 1980. It didn't affect USians as often as it would in the 1990s and onward, but was all over the place to the south of the US, and on most of the other continents. We having beaten back the Klan and related terrorism of the Greatest Generation (and earlier, of courss), finally...except in a notable incident in North Carolina.

Todd Mason said...

My error...the Greensboro shootings were in 1979.

Todd Mason said...

ATMs were open in Honolulu in 1980. Apparently, early adapters included at least one Dallas bank in 1968, and Chemical Bank in NYC in 1969...but they were still pretty novel in 1980, so much so that Pat Morita was hired to do astereotypical fumbling "local guy" commercial series for the Bank of Hawaii's "Bank-Oh" card/system.

Charles Gramlich said...

My Kindle

Erik Donald France said...

Win some, lose some. There hasn't been much added to music since the early 1980s -- "The Message" came out in '82, so rap was already well in play, and just about every other style was already there at least in prototype (Kraftwerk, etc.) The old blues players were still around. I wouldn't have missed Reagan or the Bush family presidencies. The fall of the Wall was good, some social advances, technology, communication.

I was in Chapel Hill during the Greensboro massacre. It was creepy.

kitty said...

I'd miss books by Olen Steinhauer, Henning Mankell and Steve Hamilton, just to name a few.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me, too. Some very strong writers these last 30 years.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Erik-you seem to have been everywhere at least once!