April 24, 2013

24, Going on 100

He bought a drink - I don't remember what, and it doesn't really matter - and paid with his credit card. Our machine, being a shitty old dial up relic, took its time processing. He asked if his card was working; I said that it was, and explained that the machine was simply slow sometimes. Dial up machines don't always connect on their calls.

He kind of laughed. "I didn't know those things still existed. How do they even work?"

"Work?" I asked. "I don't know the details, but they basically make a call using a phone line, and once that connects, the transaction happens."

He paused. "Weird. Isn't that what computers used to have? Like before, um, DSL, or whatever?"

I confirmed his suspicions, and adding that my first internet experiences were using dial up. I explained that pages took many minutes to load, if they ever did, and attempted to approximate the screeching noise the connection process made.

"What did you even do, back then? Like, did you even like it?"

First: Back then?

Next: Yes, we liked it. Back then, it was all we had, and we didn't know any better. Why, I remember going to school, and actually looking up things in encyclopedias. Imagine that, real books with real information. None of that wiki garbage you kids are getting up to AND OH MY GOD, THIS IS IT, ISN'T IT?

This is talking to an actual, literal adult, who knows nothing of dial up internet. This is looking at an apparent peer, one who looks indistinguishable from you, but is actually 6 or 7 years younger, was still rolling around on his parents' floor when I first experienced AOL.

This is not getting old, per se, but certainly older.

I guess it's better than the only available alternative.

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