Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rock stacking and other distractions

You can be going through life, blithely wasting time or doing the serious stuff and then stumble to a point when you realize you have aged, possibly a lot. Normally I go through my day using a brain that speaks to me in my twenty-something voice. It's only when the physical body disappoints or one goes looking for a small item from the past that no longer commonly exists, realization dawns, times have changed ...

Big changes we expect, stuff like technological interfaces with our lives and popular music, but it's the minutiae we overlooked back when and then consequently don't expect to have vanished today. It surprises us and personalizes the loss, eliminating a bit of our own history. Certainly each generation feels a similar tug of the "good ol' days" for this very reason.

Take round glass marbles for instance, you used to be able to buy them anywhere, today it involves a serious shopping search. Certainly nothing is too hard to find online, but I wanted them NOW! Marbles no longer linger in little net bags in the toy departments of the usual discount stores. Oh, the days of Woolworth's 5 & dime! I finally located some in the silk flower/craft area at the dollar store. Subsequently feeling somewhat regretful of the dozens I threw away, after bruising my instep on stray marbles abandoned on the floor by my children. I guess it can be said we are all "losing our marbles!"

Hotel keys... Yes, I know the key cards are wonderfully convenient but the last time I stayed at a local historic lodge, the desk staff offered for sale, the old metal room key and fob at checkout. I purchased the huge brass key for a couple bucks and I am pleased to own that bit of memorabilia. My children will never know the worrisome responsibility of keeping track of a room key to avoid the expensive replacement charge. Pity, since many amusing family legends grew from the earnest searching for mislaid keys. Today, a few minutes at the concierge desk and a new key card is in your hand stress free.
Does every home still own a dictionary, no not on the computer, but an actual book copy? A hefty tome where you look up words by hand, exercising the side of your brain that retains the ABC song. I think we are losing valuable skills to the ease of Spell Check. More and more often I am seeing dictionaries at garage and estate sales. I have to admit I am very pleased with my one dollar purchase of a 1983 copy of Webster's Unabridged, a full 2,289 pages including 16 outdated color map pages. We have fondly dubbed this reference "the big Dic," for obvious reasons. Viva Scrabble challenges!

Well, today has been a rock stacking day; meaning little accomplished but thoughtful towers were erected albeit temporarily, as a distraction from mundane chores.


  1. I still prefer leafing through a real dictionary to seeing an entry nonlinear. Who can predict the gems we may discover on the way to our destination?

    1. Should be "entry online ". Darn autocorrect.

    2. Yes, gems abound! Maybe the effects of elementary school spelling lists persists, because I usually learn a couple new words on every dictionary quest.