Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gonna start the revolution from my bed (Oasis)

Thanks for all the birthday messages from the whanau on Facebook and via email. Great to know you're all out there thinking about me from time to time.
Ross sent me a great (early) birthday message - wishing me a happy 54th revolution around the sun.

Maybe I'm a complete idiot, but that doesn't sound like much does it? In the great scheme of things 54 years is nothing.

Having just finished Bill Bryson's At Home book I am keenly aware of how slow technological progress has been until very recently. The last 54 years have seen an explosion of changes, and yet...I am sitting at a desk, on a chair, around me are books, papers and things that someone in 1957 would recognise without too much problem.

Never-the-less, I thought it might be fun to comment on a few of the changes in daily life since 1957 as I experience them today.

Number 1 - In 1957, no personal computers, no blogs, no interweb. I would have written this out on paper using a ballpoint pen (I still prefer a fountain pen but ballpoints had been invited way before 1957) and mailed it. I would have had to send it to you all individually and by the time you received the letter everything would be out of date. If you wanted to reply that would have had me waiting for weeks. As well as that - the person who recently logged on to one of my posts from Nigeria would not have had his life enriched by reading Wordsworth's words.

Number 2 - no CDs, no car sound systems or even radios in the car. I would not have been listening to Devin Townsend's Ziltoid The Omniscient in my car's sound system on the way to work this morning. Music, of course, would have been available in my home via vinyl long players, but without much to listen to. Although Elvis was on the Ed Sullivan show in 1957 it would be years before his influences were felt in far away New Zealand.

Number 3 - no Masafi Touch of Peach bottled water. I've just cracked open a bottle. Not available in 1957. If I wanted a drink of water then I would have gone to the tap (not really a recommended practice in the UAE)

Number 4 - no mobile phone technology. Just received a call from Jacky from her cell phone. Where we live in the UAE there are no land lines to houses (or even our offices at school) because cell phone technology is so much easier. There is a landline in the Deputy Principal's office. It rings about once a week on average. The landline in the Principal's office is for the fax machine. 

Number 5 - no staple gun, electronic calculator, glue sticks, and highlighters. That person from 1957 walking into my office would not recognise these items of stationery on my desk. And where would we be without the highlighter??

Number 6 - no country! Yes that's right - the United Arab Emirates did not exist as a country in 1957. It celebrates its 40th birthday this year.

Number 7 - no digital cameras. Pros and cons here. How many of us loved the thrill of collecting a wallet of photos from the chemists after about a week? The immediate opportunity to delete a load of tat is pretty cool though!

Number 8 - no Jacqueline Frances Smith. It took another 5 years for She Who Must Be Obeyed to emerge. Without SWMBO, no Keegan, Adam, Samantha or Jade.

And what about a few things that have been around since 1957?

Number 1 - air conditioning. Yes, a product that we couldn't live without in the UAE has, amazingly, been around since 1902 when the first modern electrical air conditioning unit was invented.

Number 2 - traffic roundabouts. But only just. The modern roundabout to ease traffic congestion dates from mid century surprisingly. Again - the UAE would have a very different kind of chaos on the roads if there were no roundabouts. Al Ain has hundreds of the things!

Number 3 -! Yes without Wozza's world there would also be no Keegan, Adam, Samantha, Jade so I think you guys owe me!

Love and peace - Wozza on his 54th Revolution

No comments: