A short look back at a period in which many of the things which are now considered obsolete used to play an important part in my life
It's probably hard for those who were born in the last decade of the 20th century and for millennials to imagine that there was a time in which there were no laptops, tablets or smartphones and yet there was life on Earth. Even I sometimes have the impression that the period I'm referring to was over centuries ago, while in reality only a couple of decades before the Internet was still a mystery to me.
In honour of that period, which I don't necessarily consider better than the present technology-driven times, but from which I have a lot of great memories, I am taking a trip down memory lane in an attempt to identify those aspects and things from the past which are seen as outdated nowadays, but which were quite important for me at that time, so here are a few things I remember with great pleasure from the pre-Internet era.
1. PRINTED NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
Reading a newspaper or a magazine specialized in science, history or entertainment was at that time one of the main methods to keep up with the events happening around the world, so I didn't mind standing in a line from time to time in order to buy a newspaper. The Monday morning sports newspapers were the ones I was most anxiously searching for better because they contained all the results of the weekend, plus chronicles of the football matches which I used to enjoy a lot. Nowadays, when all that info is available online and many newspapers from my country no longer have online editions, I very seldom stop in front of a newspaper stand.
2. WRITING LETTERS
Back in those days, when there was no social media and no instant messengers available yet, writing a letter was an important form of communication with people living at a distance, so whenever I did it I used to take my time and try to make it as interesting as possible.
It was an exciting process, for sure, and postmen certainly had a lot more work to do in those times!
3. LISTENING TO LIVE RADIO BROADCASTS OF SPORTS EVENTS
Back in the 80s, when the Communist regime still led my country with an iron grip, watching a sporting event on TV was an extremely rare event, so radio broadcasts, especially of soccer matches, were an event not to be missed by fans who couldn't travel to stadiums and support their teams. Those broadcast let a lot of the listener's imagination to unfold as the gameplay, as the gameplay, as it was described by the commentators, was filtered through my mind, so it was a great exercise of imagination which I don't need to make anymore these days when almost every sporting event that matters is accessible on television or the Web.
4. BUYING MUSIC CASSETTES
There was a time when a buying a cassette was quite an event for me, as I had to find ways to save money to be able to have the albums of my favorite bands in my collection, and for a hard rock and metal fan it was not as easy as it is today to find out info about the latest releases from this genre which was largely ignored by the media, but it was fascinating to stay up late at night to listen to the few radio and TV shows dedicated to metal or buying magazines specialized in this fantastic, but so underrated and misunderstood type of music, and then, of course, try to find those releases wherever I could. A lot of things have changed since those days; now I can listen to almost any band I find interesting on platforms like Youtube or Deezer, so obviously those cassettes are a thing of the past, but I still kept a few of them, which are still in good audio quality, to remind me of times when acquiring a new heavy metal album was quite a big thing.
5. CALLING FROM PHONE BOOTHS
Before the explosion of mobile phones, the only way to keep in touch with my folks whenever I went on a trip and spent several days away from home was to call them from a phone booth, so there was no way they could call me at any time and check up on me and my whereabouts. It was a certain freedom I enjoyed, but at the same time I knew that they trusted me, so I used to call them regularly from those phone booths.
These are the five things which came first to my mind on this short journey back to a period when technology was less advanced and my lifestyle was quite different from the one after the Internet boom. Sometimes a look back is necessary to understand where we came from and how we evolved, so a little nostalgia can't be bad from time to time as long as we remain focused on the present day.
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