What are we missing?

Think back a few decades and try to recall something that was in everyday use back then that no one uses today. How many did you come up with? Think about that and consider these things that once made life easy for us.


Do you still have a landline phone in your home or are you like many families who gave them up in place of cell phones? And, even if you do still have a landline phone, it’s probably a portable phone to carry from room to room, right? Have you seen the YouTube video about two teens trying to figure out how to use a rotary phone? It’s worth four minutes of your time to watch their dilemma – the phone receiver is a mystery and the rotary dial completely baffling. Before we laugh too much, however, let’s remind ourselves how many three and four-year-olds can use a cell phone to entertain themselves.

While we’re on the subject, think about how cell phones have evolved over the last 20 years. Remember the early bag phones? They could hardly be considered convenient; they were in a bulky bag you had to lug around. Then they transitioned to chunky models (check out My Best Friend’s WeddingorWall Streetto see one of those gems), to flip phones, and finally, to the iPhones we all have today. Isn’t it interesting that newer model iPhones are now getting larger in size instead of smaller? As one person was overheard to say, “I guess you’ll be holding an iPad up to your ear soon.” Who knows? People used to carry around those horrid boom boxes on their shoulders.

When’s the last time you saw a payphone? Those used to be the emergency phones for travelers in their heyday. Need a private conversation without family ears listening, jump in your car, and find the nearest payphone.

And how about phone books? With Google or whatever search engine you prefer, finding a phone number has never been easier. You see not only the number but also the address, website, reviews, and basically, any information about a business is in one quick search.

Polaroid Cameras

Getting a picture within seconds used to be quite a big deal, remember? The film came out and you shook it a bit to get it dry before checking out the photo. Who needs those now with the ability to take pictures with your phone and share them virtually instantaneously?

Slide Show Projectors

Did you ever get invited over to visit friends, only to find yourself in the dreaded ‘let us show you our vacation slides’ realm? Okay, well maybe not much has changed there, other than now they hand you their cell phone and you ‘slide’ over numerous photos of each and every tourist site they visited.


Many a spat has gotten a vacation off to a rocky start when one person was supposed to read the map and provide directions to the driver. Thankfully, technology has significantly improved directions and eliminated the need to try to refold a road map (is it really possible to get it back the same way it was?). GPS to the rescue! Although the constant voiceover directions can be wearing after a while, especially if you miss a turn and the GPS voice seems suddenly quite snippy in correcting your error.

These are just a small sampling of things we used to take for granted that have been replaced by newer, better, and possibly more complicated improvements. Think about things that used to be essential to daily living and what improvements might be headed our way in the next decade. Who knows? Maybe rotary phones will come back into vogue – at least as nostalgic items.


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