Sunday, July 28, 2013

Digital Disorientation

I've had something weighing on my mind lately. Only now am I ready to talk about it.

It all started a few weeks ago. I was driving down a back street, minding my own business. The windows were rolled down. I was singing along with the radio like I knew my way around a tune.

There in front of me, a royal blue Chevy that single-handedly shifted the orbit of my 21st Century universe. One bumper sticker, two little words: Record Fanatic.

I mean, why the poor grammar? Have we really fallen that far?
Or is that a weird way of stating one's interest in cinematography?
Who on earth likes recording that much? Enough to print it on a bumper sticker and ride around with it?

By the next bend in the street, the light bulb had fizzled on in pops and skips.

And a little sliver of my shiny, black soul cracked off.

Because I'm no spring chicken, man. I sang El Shaddai in the kitchen when I was barely past my "I'm pretending to be a boy, please call me Jared" phase. I crushed on David Meece, Russ Taff, and yes, hello, Carmen. (Come on, those curls! The sinister eyes! The voice-overs!)

Nevermind the Sandi Patti cliche, I had Michael W. Smith in an argyle sweater vest and a poodle perm. I had Steve Taylor's haunting prediction that the world would end in 1990. I went to war with Petra, and when Greg X Volz split off, I bought his solo debut. On vinyl, naturally.

I wore those records straight out.

I could drop a needle like a seasoned pro when I was still on training wheels.

By the time I was 12, I had my very own record player, which I introduced to my extremely conservative grandpa via Stryper's To Hell With the Devil.

I loved records.

You might have called me a Record Fanatic.

So how is it possible that a word so ripe with meaning and nostalgia could have inadvertently fallen from my personal vernacular without me even realizing it had gone missing? How did I unwittingly betray my first love?

Those pops and skips meant something to me. True, cassette tapes eventually won me over, but only because they were more portable, by way of my ten pound boom box.

Now, here I find myself, an accidental refugee in the digital age.

I feel something like Calvin must have when he spotted his first pay phone then laughed sardonically as we explained that you put money in it and call people.

My obvious reaction to all of this generational upheaval is to swing wide in the other direction, renewing my vow to my humble flip phone, clutching paperback books to my bosom. I shall never own an ipod! A blue tooth? Sounds to me like a personal problem.

You'll have to pry my CD collection from my cold, dead hands. I won't bear this shame twice.

But please don't bring my camera in to this.
Some technological advances really are sacred.


  1. Took me a few times to say and think it right too.

  2. I heart your posts Ms. Shannon! I distinctly remember listening to Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith on the radio, which came in poorly, and holding my tape recorder up to the speaker to record them on to cassette (apparently we were on a budget). But I must confess to also owning 8 tracks...oh, my I really AM as old as dirt!

    1. I did the SAME thing! So 90% of my mixed tapes had parts of the songs missing depending on where the song was when I found it. :)

  3. Bought a box of 45's just the other day. The kids Nana has a record player, but then I thought.... hmm... I need one.
    I've held out, in some ways. Need to just keep holding out!

  4. I have thought about this very thing SO MANY times! When I was helping clean out an old building at my school I found a box of records. Some were bright jeweled colors. Naturally I made a hanging mobile for my classroom. My students (4 and 5 years old) always say, "What kind of CD is that?"

  5. you are so funny!!!!!!!! Remember the 45's and those little discs you bought to put in the hole so they fit onto the record player???? AAhh those WERE the days!!!!!!!

  6. I scored an old portable record player and a stack of old records (some came with the old read or sing along books) from my school two years ago and my six year old is in love with it! I have to admit that I am too. I played my records in my garage while I roller skated around in circles, ah the good old days!

  7. With regard to mis-reading the word, I've followed Content in a Cottage blog for years. Just the other day I thought "oh, Con TENT in a cottage, not CON tent." Doh!!

  8. Oh my goodness! I went to bed every. single. night. with a record playing on the record player. . . I can hear that distinct popping sound now as the needle gets to the end of the record. It is kind of sad my boys will not ever know that sound : (

  9. Last week I asked my kids for a record player and a James Taylor album for my birthday. There's a used bookstore here that sells records, and I miss everything about them. I almost bought some on my last trip and thought it would be silly to own vinyl without a player. Also. In the interest of full disclosure. I went to a stryper concert. I even tried listening when they went "secular" and according to my youth leaders "strayed". I'm a rebel, Dottie. A loner.

  10. Totally forgot about Russ Taff! Loved him and the Imperials back in the day.
    Wonder how old he is now? Grandpa Russ?
    Thanks for the blast to the past, Farmgirl!

  11. ahhhh, for love of the flip phone. When I finally got a cell phone in 2007 it was a flip phone which was pretty standard back then. Last year when I bought a new phone I specifically looked for a flip phone. And, no media package on my phone. No way! My Dell laptop is my nod to technology and my camera is basic but digital. The phone is a necessary evil. I could live without one for the most part. And, I remember records and still have a few. I often dream about the good ole days before we needed cell phones and kindles etc. I do have a kindle (gift) but rarely use it. I have to be able to smell the words. Nothing better than caressing a book in my hands. Glad to know there are others besides myself who love a flip phone. :)

  12. You are just the best. That's all. Wait a minute, the hair...priceless. That's really all!

  13. Oh my, Oh my, Oh my.
    Girl, you have made me wet my pants AND read this aloud to the hubs (who barely smiled, by the way) AND I even held up the laptop and showed him your photo, in all your GLORY (and girl, you had some glory, let me tell you.)and all he said was, Lori. Give her some grace. You used to look like that.
    AND then I smiled real big like and said, You're right. Let me go find myself in the drawer.
    YOU are my smile and my laughter and sometimes my tears, all wrapped up in one place.
    I LOVE you.
    For real.
    And I think I tell you this nearly twice a week.

    1. Made my NIGHT!
      ps - So glad I'm a girl. Right? Guys just miss out.

  14. Thanks for the laugh and for reminding me again of the wonderful era of records. I still have a large stash of favorites and whenever I pull them out, it's like seeing old friends again. I remember every single thing about the album cover, the photos, the back-liner, the lyrics, and, yes, the crackling sounds they often made. Those were the days.

  15. Totally. I have a small collection of records that I purchased or were gifted to me even before I owned a record player of my own. I always used my mother's. My husband bought me a beautiful player two years ago for Christmas and I. Love. It. There's just some things that are sacred and time moves too fast for me. Thanks for the post and the laugh.

    (Carmen was SO HOT!)

  16. Amen to the slide phone. Amen to the ipod. Amen to the paperback books. Cheers, to you. This post made me smile.

  17. Dear Jesus,
    Why, oh why, did you make Shan so funny?

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