I’m not that old. I don’t think i am. No, no, I’m not… Well…by my standards I’m not. (To my grand-niece: this is not old!!!). But I have observed many things in life. I have seen the world transition in my 40 years. Sometimes toward great progress and sometimes it seems as if it’s gone into nostalgic remission.
Everyone looks to move forward, and don’t get me wrong, I’m right in line always ready to jump on to that wagon. Ask anyone about the dozen cell phones I’ve had in my years. But at the same time, this so-called progress has crept in like a killer and taken away from me, from us, from our children and their children something so beautiful that we didn’t know it until it was too late.Yes, yes, I know, sounds a bit dramatic. But I promise you this will tear at your heart-strings.
Recently, my oldest son inquired about our dating years when we were younger. Not when we dated each other, but our young teenage loves. Don’t even get us started on stuff like that. We reminisced about what it was like for each of us. Similarities are abundant in these type of stories. Those first looks. That feeling when you first hold hands. Going to a fast food joint together because that’s all you can afford. Your friends making sure they pile into the back seat of the car around you just so you’re both squeezed in tightly together. And one of our all time favorites was how we expressed our feelings for each other through the words of our favorite songs…..
And just like Video Killed the Radio Star, technology murdered the mixed tape. More like slaughtered and dismembered. Almost impossible to gain back all the components to resurrect. Gone forever are the days when a young man would slave over his boom box waiting for the radio to play all the songs he wanted to record for his beautiful young love. Waiting on the weekend for American Top 40 with Casey Kasem to come on so he could dedicate that entire morning to this laborious job. When he’d steady his finger on the PLAY button for just the right moment to push it downward then sit out the entire song to stop the recording before the DJ started to speak again. And it took a skillful recorder to capture only the songs and avoid all those radio commentaries and commercials. The same procedure for every song he had in mind and until there was no more room on the tape. It was an art.
I remember getting my first mixed tape. It was a true proclamation of his love. He was willing to give up that time with his friends or video games just to create something that expressed his feelings for me. He took his time, he handpicked specific songs, he isolated himself from the world, locked in his room, just to impress me. Then, with additional effort and in his best penmanship wrote out all the tracks on to the card provided in the cassette case. All to impress me. And because I too had gone through that same grueling task to create mixed tapes of my own, I knew precisely how important I was to him when he gently put that tape in to my hands without a word said aloud. He didn’t have to say anything. That little box said it all. Back home, light-headed I’d listen and deciphered his message through those songs.
My poor son will drag and drop for a stupid, boring, playlist. How do you hand a girl a playlist? I hate lists! I mourn for his loss!