Tete-a-tete ArchivesAn eclectic sampling of my award-winning humor columns. New columns can be read online at www.nashuatelegraph.com on the first Thursday of the month, with columns posted here later in the month.
More in "Tete-a-tete"
- Tete-a-tete: Grandpa had a 'Wonderful Life'
- Tete-a-tete: Streamlined technology makes it easier to come home for the holidays - unlike when I was in college
- Tete-a-tete: Terrifying toys make childhood memorable
- Tete-a-tete: The pitfalls of dining out as a slow eater
- Tete-a-tete: Pop culture references lead to unexpected connections
- Tete-a-tete: "Handicapped accessible" doesn't really mean what people think it means
- Tete-a-tete: The ins and outs of the college moving experience
- Tete-a-tete: When dealing with cabin fever, this cat's on a roll
- Tete-a-tete: An artistic masterpiece 20 years in the making
- Tete-a-tete: Promp and circumstance: Modern-day prom prep
- Tete-a-tete: Blue Apron - a Pandora's box of weekly culinary adventures
- Tete-a-tete: Serve up a slice of family traditions, new or old
- Tete-a-tete: 'Family court' has a whole new meaning at our house
- Tete-a-tete: Drafted on the farm: Grandpa's war at home
- Tete-a-tete: With family, you have to give it the ol' college try
- Tete-a-tete: Walk a mile in my Boots: Viva la feline difference
- Tete-a-tete: Slacker movies offer unlikely heroes
- Tete-a-tete - Bag that theory: Purse contents aren't all that enlightening
- Tete-a-tete: Keeping up with the pace of modern-day elder care
- Tete-a-tete: Easter dinner reveals a shocking family secret
- Tete-a-tete: Time flies when you forget to change the clocks
- Tete-a-tete: Here in New Hampshire, we don't take voting 'for granite'
- Tete-a-tete: An Eagle takes flight in another family milestone
- Tete-a-tete: When choosing heirlooms, cross your Ts and dot your ... claims
- Tete-a-tete: Even the best-intentioned Christmas traditions can fail to take hold
- Tete-a-tete: How to enjoy a wedding, even if it's not your own
- Tete-a-tete: A tale of unintentional cat ownership
- Tete-a-tete: Admissions about the college admissions process
- Tete-a-tete: Avoiding car-tastrophe while purchasing a new vehicle
- Tete-a-tete: As American as apple pie: U.S. culture, through other eyes
- Tete-a-tete: The geek gene runs strong in our family
- Tete-a-tete: Grieving entertainment losses with a few simple steps
- Tete-a-tete: Parents, do not give your child the name equivalent of the April birthstone
- Tete-a-tete: Memento or clutter? Don't leave that decision to the historians
- Tete-a-tete: How Mom and Dad saved Christmas (and a hamster)
- Tete-a-tete: Having trouble keeping your New Year's resolutions? It could be "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" Syndrome
- Tete-a-tete: When Christmas starts before Thanksgiving (a reflection on temporal discombobulation)
- Tete-a-tete: Sizing up a new family pet, or the difference between a cat and a hamster
- Tete-a-tete: When your worst fear comes true
- Tete-a-tete: Family game night can leave you drawing a blank
- Tete-a-tete: When you have a really good reason to skip class
- Tete-a-tete: The downside to the world's most flattering bridesmaid dress
- Tete-a-tete: Say it with flowers - just don't say where you got them
- Tete-a-tete: Shockingly true tales of my Herculean, heroic great-grandpa
- Tete-a-tete: For goodness 'sakes - generational namesakes can confuse
- Tete-a-tete: Confused by the weather? Signs spring has almost sprung
- Tete-a-tete: Seeking the Holy Grail of a universal bridesmaid dress
- Tete-a-tete: Love poetry gone bad, or why I'm still not allowed to use matches
- Tete-a-tete: A traveler's guide to the Big Apple
- Tete-a-tete: Feats of strength aren't just for Festivus festivities
- Tete-a-tete: Change comes from within - sometimes, literally
- Tete-a-tete: Car games: from punch-buggy to punching cell phone buttons
- Tete-a-tete: I mustache you a question about costume practicality
- Tete-a-tete: Functional furniture is making my family dysfunctional
- Tete-a-tete: Jungle Speed board game can bring out the beast in you
- Tete-a-tete: To call it a ‘mooving’ ride would be inaccurate
- Tete-a-tete: When saying ‘sweetheart’ just won’t do
- Tete-a-tete: Eat your heart out, Festivus: Stymchastynchula is here
- Tete-a-tete: Hoping Korean music can explode in the U.S. with a K-pop
- Tete-a-tete: Holidays, especially with Grandma, are always colorful
- Tete-a-tete: Sometimes, it's the grilled cheese that makes the memories
- Tete-a-tete: Still recovering from Dad's forays into home education
Tete-a-tete: Streamlined technology makes it easier to come home for the holidays – unlike when I was in college
Youngest Brother and Younger Sister will soon be coming home from college for Thanksgiving. Along with their dirty laundry, they’ll be bringing something I was never able to bring home for a weekend when I was in college: their computers.
It amazes me how quickly technology has changed. Even though it’s been a little more than a decade since I was a college student, from a technological standpoint, it was essentially a different epoch. Laptops existed but had not yet come into widespread use. I had a decidedly-non-portable desktop PC, as did most of my friends.
Each person who lived on campus had their own landline in their dorm room, the extension for which was listed in the campus phone book. I remember being excited to have a T1 internet connection, as it was so much faster than the dialup connection we had at home.
Facebook was in its nascent stages; YouTube and Twitter did not yet exist. Our main social media platforms were a campus-wide system called FirstClass, AOL Instant Messenger and LiveJournal. No one referred to it as “social media” at the time, however, because the term hadn’t been invented yet. We simply called it what it was for us: procrastination.
Digitalization of entertainment was in its infancy. Overall, if you wanted to enjoy a particular type of entertainment, you needed to have it in tangible form, along with the appropriate equipment to play it. Watching a movie required a TV and a videotape and VCR or a DVD and a DVD player. Listening to music required a CD and a CD player. Reading a book required, well, a book.
As you can imagine, dorm rooms were rather crowded when I was in college, especially if you or your roommate was a bit of a movie buff or a bookworm.
Going home for a holiday weekend was an exercise in decision-making and deprivation. You couldn’t take your computer with you. If you had a computer at home, the internet connection likely wasn’t fast enough to keep in touch with your friends. You had to choose what movies, music and books to bring with you, especially if you had a long distance to travel.
And all Youngest Brother and Younger Sister have to do is grab their laptops or tablets, their smartphones and the respective chargers, and they have all of that and more. I mean, I even had to bring my portable alarm clock home with me. They just set the alarm on their phones.
Even more impressive is that Youngest Brother and Younger Sister’s computers fit in their backpack and purse respectively. Try doing that with a monitor, keyboard, tower, mouse and the tangle of cords needed to connect all the components. And their phones fit in their pockets!
I don’t mean to sound naïve or credulous (Phones! Phones that fit into pockets!), but I do believe we’ve become so comfortable with our current technology that we sometimes forget how incredible – and how fast – these advancements have been.
My college computer had a 1 gigabyte hard drive. A little more than a decade later, my smartphone has a capacity of 13 gigabytes, with additional storage in the cloud. Had you mentioned the iCloud to me back in college, I would’ve assumed it was something that built up in the center of a hurricane.
These developments are mind-blowing, yet we often take them for granted. It’s easy for me to get frustrated with slow or spotty Wi-Fi – until I remember the days when I would wait half an hour to connect to the internet through our phone line, only to be booted off every time someone called our house.
Technology has not always been a servant at my beck and call, doing its utmost to make my life convenient. It wasn’t that long ago that I would change my habits to suit the technology. During my college breaks, I would use the internet at home in the wee hours of the morning when I could be (relatively) sure of an uninterrupted connection.
How very odd to think that my parents would tell us how fortunate we were for not having to walk to school (uphill, both ways) in the freezing cold, and now I’m telling my youngest siblings to appreciate their instantaneous internet connectivity and have patience when their apps are slow to refresh. Hardship is indeed relative.
Overall, I’m pleased that Youngest Brother and Younger Sister don’t have to make the choices I did when coming home for a holiday and can enjoy the benefits of compact, effective technology. But I am anticipating a definite downside to it.
Since they don’t have to cram their luggage with DVDs, books and CDs, they have more room for dirty laundry. The internet has become much faster since I was in college, but it still takes the same amount of time to do a load of laundry. Happy Thanksgiving, Mom and Dad.
– Teresa Santoski