Feelin’ Older than the Hills

You never feel older than when you’re talking to a young person and trying to explain how things were “back in your day”. I remember being a child and having my mother tell me that when she was my age, TV was only in black and white and then thinking, “How is that even possible? She must be sooooo old!”

Now I have the perspective of age to understand how quickly things can change. Of course, her real message was that we should be grateful for what we had instead of asking for more. But at the time…

I’ve recently started learning what it’s like to be on the other end of that conversation, and I don’t like it.

I don’t like it one little bit.

“Can I borrow your camera?” Big Brother asks me.

I think for a moment. He’s careful and responsible, unlikely to do anything that would damage it, and giving it to him just about guarantees me fifteen minutes of peace. “Sure,” I say, and hand over my trusty Nikon.

Ten minutes later, he’s back. “Look at the pictures I took!” he says excitedly.

I look.

He’s taken 129 photos.

Most of them are of the wall. Or the ceiling. Or half of his own face.

As I flick through them he starts giggling. “There’s a funny one coming up,” he says. I click-click-click my way through blurry close-ups of individual toys and photos of his feet before I finally come to the “funny” one. It’s a close-up of the back of Little Brother’s head.

In frustration I say, “You don’t have to take photos of everything. If you stop and think about what you’d like a picture of, you’ll have a lot more nice photos at the end. Then I can print them out for you. Photos should be special.”

Big Brother looks at me with all the condescension of a teenager. “It’s okay,” he says. “You can just delete the ones you don’t want.”

I pause, searching for words to try to explain that deleting them isn’t the point. (Although, quite frankly, I’m not sure what the point is.) Big Brother has already moved on. “Can you take a photo of me?”

He strikes an amusing pose and waits. I sigh, point and click the camera, and wait. Big Brother is back at my side in an instant. “Let me see, let me see, let me see!”

Finally, it’s too much. My cool is gone. “Just be patient,” I say. Then words I never thought I’d say come out of my mouth. “When I was your age, we didn’t have the option of seeing pictures straight after we took them. We’d take 24 photos, and then take the camera to a shop to have them printed before we could see any of them.” I paused, letting my words sink in.  “Sometimes it would take weeks, or even months, before we could get to see the photos we’d taken.”

Big Brother looked at me seriously, absently chewing on his lip as he considered my words. Then he nodded slowly. I allowed myself a moment of hope.

“Was that when there were dinosaurs alive?”

Sometimes, my boy, it really feels like it.


Filed under Life With Kids

9 responses to “Feelin’ Older than the Hills

  1. What is it with their obsession with cameras? Daughter is the same. I lend her my iPhone and she takes so many photos the memory is full when she returns it!

  2. You kinda had it coming. They have responses holed up in a section of their brains called, “When I was your age.”

    • I know, right? But at which point did my brain decide that “when I was your age” was an appropriate thing to say? Seriously. It’s like I saw a sign saying “cool response ahead” and suddenly veered left into crazy-old-person-response-ville instead.

  3. Hahaha! His response is awesome. Dallas waxes on about the old film days to the kids constantly. It goes in one ear and out the other.

  4. It only gets worse. I find myself saying “when I was your age” or “does anyone else remember when” to thirty-year-old friends. I’ve spent most of today trying to figure out how to use a new cell phone. Any ten-year-old probably could have explained everything to me in fifteen minutes.

  5. I had a co-worker once, a few years older than me. One time, one of our (younger) co-workers asked him, “What type of computers did they have when you started working?”

    He said, “Well, we used to have these stone tablets, with little chisels to make the letters, but then we upgraded to baked clay tablets, and they were a lot easier to work with.”

Speak to me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s