Reason #23 to write a memoir: Life spent waiting
I just got back from a vacation where the inability to get ball scores was a major pain in the butt. You see, the mountains out west don’t have full cell coverage the way almost every square inch of Florida seems to. So I had to wait hours–hours, I tell you!–to get a Mets score.
When I was a kid, we’d go to my grandmother’s house at Indian Lake in the Adirondacks every summer. Indian Lake is the scene you should make with your little ones, but when the Mets aren’t playing day games, it was hell to get the score. To allow enough time for delivery, the versions of the Albany and Schenectady papers delivered to the general store were too early for scores from even east coast night games.
When the Rays’ Matt Garza threw a no-hitter last week, I called my wife’s cell and left a message. Even though he was at the Grand Canyon, my son knew of the no-hitter before he went to bed.
Today, if you won’t be home for a TV show, there’s always TiVo, or you can watch online at Hulu or your favorite channel’s website. If you screw that up, there’s always Blockbuster, or you can add it to your Netflix queue and use the special disk they sent you and stream it from your Wii console.
Just imagine trying to explain that paragraph to your grandparents.
The things we view as mundane are the things that will fascinate future generations. We used to have to wait for the TV to warm up. Then when it did, we’d get to chose between the local ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates. There was also PBS, but we didn’t watch that very much. We even had an old console tube-based radio in the garage.
Our tent–the one we used while waiting for ball scores–is lightweight nylon and the equally lightweight polls are tethered together so there’s no confusion. My daughter can assemble it alone in the dark. When I was a kid, our tent was canvas and weighed about six-hundred pounds–without the metal poles required for its frame. It took half the vacation to put up and the other half to take down and required an engineering degree. There was no rain fly, so as soon as you got done with the monumental effort of erecting the tent, you had to put up the tarp over the top of it.
My kids can’t conceive of stuff like that. They don’t know what it’s like to have to wait for basic things like the TV picture or the ball scored. And that’s a fundamental reason for writing a memoir. So they know.