Gone... and forgotten.

Mama’s Losin’ It

List 8 things you think people forgot how to do.

Initially I cursorily dismissed this prompt, thinking it would be difficult to think of eight things.  For some reason, though, I kept coming back to it so I decided to try to jot down as many things I could think of in five minutes.

Just off the top of my head, I came up with around 30 things.

Apparently, it wasn't so difficult after all.  However, in the spirit of brevity (not one of my strong points, I know) I did manage to narrow it down to eight.  Here they are, in no particular order of importance.

Work on cars.  When I was a kid, I would see my dad, my brother, my uncles and cousins and neighbors covered in grease, under a car hood ALL. THE. TIME.  When I got a little older, I saw friends and boyfriends doing exactly the same thing.  At 17, I had changed my own oil, changed a tire, and had a basic understanding of what was happening every time I cranked my engine.  But then I kind of forgot, along with the rest of the world.  Part of it probably has to do with how much more complicated cars have become.  They're really more computer-oriented than mechanical these days.  Another reason is probably that it's just easier than it used to be to have some 15 minute oil change place do it for you for $29.99 than it is to spend the time to do it yourself.  Whatever the reasons, I certainly don't see many people in my neighborhood under the hoods of their cars on the weekend doing basic maintenance.

Use things made of paper.  Paper maps are outdated before they're even printed.  Actually, they're seldom even printed any more.  The same is true of phone books.  Encyclopedias?  My kids don't even know what those are.  When I was a kid my mom bought me a fabulous set of encyclopedias and I read from it nearly every day (GEEK ALERT!) until I had read them all the way through.  Those things just don't really exist any more, since the dawn of the internet and computers and constant online updates made them obsolete. 

Write in cursive.  I remember being in third grade and wanting SO BADLY for my handwriting sample to be chosen as the best in my class so it could be entered in the competition at the county fair.  Alas, my dream was never realized, but still, I could write in cursive.  It's not even part of the Kentucky school curriculum any more.  Not long ago I tried to teach Zachary to sign his name, thinking that was a fairly important skill but after several poorly constructed attempts I gave up.  He can just make an "X" or something.  Even my once-neat handwriting has devolved into some weird mish-mash of some cursive, some printing, and some totally made up looking letters that I like to think of as my own personal font.

Spell.  4COL I 4got if U R cmg 2day or 2mrow.  Sadly, this makes perfect sense to me (and probably to you).  I'm one of the last holdouts who insists on typing out every single word that I text, much to the dismay of several of the people on my contact list.  I will absolutely insist that the boys learn the proper way to spell, too, before I allow their spelling to degenerate to the current socially acceptable level.  I will admit, though, that spell check has pretty much ruined me, too.  I just give unfamiliar words a couple tries before I give up, highlight it and right click.  

Do math in your head.  Long ago I could do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in my head.  Like, with big numbers.  Now, not so much.  I have a calculator on my phone, one on my computer, and I really just don't try that hard any more to work it out before taking the easy route.  Remember in the Little House on the Prairie books where Laura has to do long division in her head and out loud?  There's no way I could do that.  No way at all.

Keep private things private.  I'm going to blame social media.  I mean, I NEED to blame something because it's bad.  Really, really bad.  I'm not saying it's everyone, but I unfollow/block and/or hide people all the time who can't seem to keep the most intimate details of their lives to themselves.  I want to see cute pics of your kids, what blog posts you're calling out, even what you had for lunch is fine.  But really, there's an invisible line about what should and what should not be public knowledge.  As an intensely private person myself, I sometimes am just dumbstruck by what people choose to share.  I thought about listing some examples, but I can't even go there. 

Memorize phone numbers.  I still remember the number at my childhood home, plus the numbers of several of my friends, the elementary school I went to and the time and temperature number at the local bank.  However, I cannot tell you the phone number of my friends and family that I talk to and text nearly every day now.  Because my phone remembers for me.  That part of my brain is now being used to store even more lyrics from country music songs of the seventies and eighties.

Unplug and just... be.  When I go to Zack's one hour tae kwon do class, I panic if I don't remember to take my nook, my phone AND my iPad, because I might need them.  If I'm sitting down to watch tv, chances are I'm also playing Candy Crush on my phone.  In the 30 minutes or so it has taken me to write this blog post, I have checked email (twice), checked the weather channel, and fallen down the Pinterest rabbit hole when I went to look for a graphic.  Sitting still has always made me twitchy, and now more than ever I have ready entertainment at my fingertips.  I know it's not just me.  I struggle with this every day and if what I'm observing in the world is any indication, it's a pretty widespread thing.

What do you think people have forgotten how to do? 

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