I was chatting with my freshman class today; these girls were born in 1992, mind you. They don't have to memorize phone numbers, because the digits are all stowed in the memories of the girls' cell phones. They don't have to summon up those digits that we once had to match up to individual faces and names. And when they want to dial a friend, they just press speed dial. They've never known anything but this extreme convenience.
And suddenly I began to feel nostalgic for the sound of a rotary dial phone, a pleasure these girls will never experience. The dragging of the number to the finger slot, and then the release: the zip-whirr, zip-whirr of seven separate numbers--and oh the terrible wait when that phone number was full of nines! Remember the agony of how long that dialing took when you had important news to share? And yet, perhaps out of sheer egotism, I can't help but feel that somehow these children are missing out. Are they? Or is that just my projection of importance onto my own age?
But I do understand, more each year, the lure of nostalgia, and why all those tv shows and personalities from the 60s and 70s are becoming the products of the 2000s. If I can't give my child a piece of my past, by golly I can sure buy it for him! :)
I suppose as writers we have a real gift, because we can go back whenever we want, even live there for a while, through our characters. So I wonder if I can plan an entire mystery around a rotary dial phone . . . .