Monday, April 21, 2008

High Tech

I worked for some years as a nursing assistant on one of the nursing home wards of a community hospital. We had permanent assignments, meaning that I cared for the same six or seven patients every day. So I got to know them.

Jane was a retired nurse; immobile and slightly demented but most of her cognitive faculties were more-or-less intact. She forgot names, for example, but could recollect stories from long ago. We used to talk about "how things were back then," social and technological changes, and such.

I remember one time I brought in the first compact disc that I'd ever bought. My, that was back in the day! Early 1980's. No cellphones, no laptop computers, no IPods.

I bought one of the second-generation players for about $200 back then. I replaced it two decades later when it was damaged in a move.

I brought the shiny little disc to work and showed it to Jane. "This is what music is recorded on now, Jane. It isn't played by a needle in a groove, like on records. It's read by a tiny laser," I explained.

She held it in her rheumatoid fingers and noted the rainbow reflection, as well as her own. Then she handed it back to me, smiled a little, and skeptically said "Go to hell!"


Eli Blake said...

Ever see, "Men in Black," where Carl Mauldin takes out a little disk and talks about that's how the aliens will make their money? He said, "Now I can buy the Beatles' White Album for the fourth time."

I think there may be something to that. They know that every time they change a technology and make the last one obsolete there are hordes of music fans who will demand to buy their favorites in the new technology. Somebody is making a mint off of this.

But here is my favorite-- a word that has come to mean its opposite.

Twenty years ago you could buy 'regular' or 'unleaded' gas. "Regular" gas meant gas with lead in it, and its opposite was 'unleaded.' But today, if you buy 'regular' at a gas station you will get the same product as was "NOT" 'regular' twenty years ago (the standard grade unleaded) and it is contrasted with 'premium.'

may said...

i think she basically just realized that you were the devil for showing her some hellish invention :)