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I used to work for one of the first stewardesses and she would tell me about the good old days, not always so good of course, but in her lifetime she got to see commercial airlines come into being, telephones, television, computers, even indoor plumbing and electricity. She really liked the excitement, the science fiction coming to life, the march towards progress.

A bit funny, she loved to watch cartoons, the Jetsons, whereas I much preferred the Flintstones. She was all about marching forward and I longed to just turn back time. Still do.

I miss just “having summer,” looking forward to it with some sense of celebration, rather than having to, declare a state of emergency! For crying out loud in my neck of the woods we now have “cooling stations” and churches out delivering bottled water to “the vulnerable.” It was 82 degrees yesterday! Hardly Death Valley, people. Coloring the map all red with scary electric bolts and calling it a “heat advisory” doesn’t change the fact that it really is simply “summer.” Comes around every July and August.

I remember when our “cooling stations” were lakes, beaches, and sprinklers in the yard. If you were about to dehydrate and die, you knew you could always save yourself by drinking out of a hose. Good times!

Something else I really miss from the “good old days” that came and went in my lifetime is freedom, including the freedom to hurt yourself. With the creation of insurance and lawsuits, we’ve lost all that. Today it’s all about safety, safety, safety. I used to actually run across log booms, dangerous for sure and do not recommend, but experiencing the freedom to try something just because it’s there, is not something you see very often anymore.

Recently I tried to explain to a kid what a merry go round and teeter totter were. He looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “So we used to spin around until someone went flying off or got sick,” and he actually said, I’m sure nobody let you do that. “Let you,” as if there has always been an insurance agent and a public health official standing over you monitoring every step you take? Made me want to cry.

I long for the good old days when everybody just had a cold, or even maybe something worse that might kill you, but whatever. Life is short, make hay while the sun shines. Contrast that to today where we actually have QR codes posted at the grocery store so you can scan and get a color coded covid risk assessment telling you whether or not it’s safe to go indoors, among the unmasked. And people line up to do this!

I really miss privacy, too. It’s sad, just in the last ten years or so I’ve lost my ability to even explain why it matters. Confidentiality? Human dignity? Whatever for? Today we just have cameras on every corner and all your personal data is for sale to the highest bidder. Today the thinking is, if you don’t have anything to hide, why would you care?

Try explaining to a generation used to documenting everything they do on social media while taking endless selfies, why privacy matters. They don’t get it. It just does not compute. It’s like overshare and too much information 24/7 is actually the goal. I kid you not, recently I actually wrote in desperation, “TMI, TMI,” and the gal said, what’s that? Too Much Information? Okay, what’s that?

It’s why we don’t live stream our colonoscopy to all our friends groups? Why not? What’s wrong with a colonoscopy? Ai yi yi.

This stuff will all sort itself out someday, somewhere over the rainbow, perhaps. I however, may not sort myself out at all. I may well just remain chronically maladjusted, screaming at people to get off my lawn.