A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… No, just kidding. It might feel like a different galaxy when we think about the times before internet existed, so you’ll only relate to these if “floppy disks” mean something to you. There’s the big debate whether we were better off back then, with no internet and not so much access to information, or if we are better off nowadays, with online shopping, online psychologists, and transatlantic conference calls. While the jury’s still out on that one, let’s take a look at these 10 things only pre internet people will remember. Get ready to embark on a walk down memory lane that might leave you a bit nostalgic.
1. Calling your crush
It’s weird to imagine sharing a phone with your parents, siblings, occasional guests and grandma, who just decided she’s moving in. Let’s just say phone privacy before the internet was a bit hindered. And not only you had to share the hallway phone to call a girl and ask her out, while your dad was looking approvingly at you from the kitchen and your little sister was giggling under the table, you were also stuck to the same five square feet every time because the phone was fixed on the wall.
2. The great outdoors
Come rain or come shine, we were there. Building snow trenches, fighting off enemies, skateboarding, making a swing set, jumping the rope, trying out hula hoops and throwing a baseball with the neighbor’s grand kids all day long. We came back in the house starving and muddy, but ready to do it all again the next day.
3. Good behavior marks
Not a day went by without scraping an elbow or a knee, tearing a tshirt or some pants, losing a button or getting a splinter stuck in a finger. We were young, restless, and didn’t know what Facebook was, while our moms had band aids in every bag and every pocket.
4. Happiness was just a trampoline away
Is it just me, or does this still stand? What can be more exciting than jumping up and down on a trampoline? Certainly not watching an ASOS haul on Youtube. And if your parents decided to join you on the jumping, you were the happiest kid on the street for three whole hours!
5. Backyards had treehouses and pools
Not free wifi and waterproof electrical outlets. We had ghost stories instead of the “Saw” series and we splashed around the pool all day long, without checking in, twitting or snap chatting. There was no “sharing location” or Google maps, you just asked around for instructions to reach your friends’ house. Old times…
6. Mail came in a box
Called mailbox! We had pen palls and stationery for writing dozens of pages. We were no strangers to stamps, envelopes and post offices. We had a paper knife for opening letters, but no one ever used it, and sometimes we tore pieces of the letter when opening the envelope. Hearing from a friend across the globe took two weeks, not two seconds.
7. Writing down directions
“First on the right then second on the left, you pass a 7/11 and then keep going until you see a red house”. Yep, those were our points of reference back then. And we wrote them all down on a piece of paper or in a notebook filled with directions, recipes, gift ideas or phone numbers.
8. We looked things up in an encyclopedia
A real one. With pages, covers and table of contents. To get our hands on one of them, we usually went to libraries. Think of it as the real life equivalent of Wikipedia. Only you had to have a library card to borrow books for a limited amount of time and then you’d get penalties if you didn’t return them on time. Real pre internet life was tough!
9. Meeting people was different
Try to imagine a week without your phone nowadays. Kinda complicated right? Before the internet rolled around, you agreed upon a meeting time and place and that was it! No Whatsapp messaging to let the others know you’re running late or that you’re stuck in traffic. No getting Google to estimate how much your bus takes to get there. And definitely no checking to see if there are any accidents on the way there that would make you be late.
10. Dedicating songs on the radio
And then hushing everyone around the house when it came on. If you were quick on your feet, you could record it on a cassette tape, over the last song you had previously obsessed over and play it to your friends when they came over to play Monopoly and Scrabble.