The other day I was on a quest to find something that is quite nearly obsolete. We will address precisely what that nearly obsolete object was in just a moment…
First, I wandered through Walmart. I’m not sure, but that may have been the very first time I’ve gone to Walmart actually intending to make a purchase and walked out completely empty-handed. Oh, I nearly got sucked into purchasing a package of pens that were on the clearance rack I searched (the regular shelves did NOT have the item in question) but felt weird about using my debit card to purchase something that was about a dollar, and I had no cash. Zero. Further, I had less than $50 in my checking account. Yes, I live paycheck to paycheck these days, and the little bit I had in my savings account? I was waiting until the day before my ENT appointment to transfer that to checking, to further limit my temptation to spend it. So no, I did not buy a package of pens that I really didn’t need simply because they were on sale.
Grumbling, I hopped into the van and made my second stop, at a rather sad Family Dollar store, which is where I captured the photo of the horse below. They not only did NOT have the object I was seeking, the store smelled vaguely of backed up sewage, and they were playing music that almost made me wish my ears were stopped up again.
The final stop on the quest took me to Walgreens, who had something that worked, though not precisely what I sought.
What exactly was I seeking that had become “obsolete”? A flash drive 4GB or less. Seriously. I found one that was 4GB and worked for its intended purpose. I also found a 16GB flash drive that I purchased as a backup for my school flash drive, for LESS than I had to pay for that 4GB flash drive. Yes, they had a few 4GB drives at Walmart, but they came in odd shapes, and I wasn’t sure a penguin-shaped flash drive would connect properly to the inventory reader for which I was purchasing the flash drive. The specifications of the inventory reader did not allow for a drive larger than 4GB. I was hoping to find some cheap 1-2GB flash drive. Nope. Apparently anything below 4GB is becoming obsolete in our society of bigger, better, faster, harder.
And then we have the rather careworn horse ride outside of the stinky Family Dollar.
I’m guessing this one is a remnant of the 1980s, though they may have had this type in the late 1970s. I remember a time when every Kmart seemed to have a miniature merry-go-round that usually had three small ponies just outside the store. I believe the cost for a “ride” was about a quarter. As kids, we would often climb on the merry-go-round, though it was rare to actually have our parents put the money in so we could go around in slow circles for about a minute. Sometimes, if a horse was empty on the moving merry-go-round, a random kid would take advantage and hop on, piggy-backing on somebody else’s quarter. At some point, instead of three horses, sometimes one of the horses would be replaced by a mutant creature that looked a little like Donald Duck, if Donald Duck had been subjected to genetic experiments that went horribly wrong. Sometimes the single rocking horse like the one pictured here would sit side-by-side with the merry-go-round, offering choices.
How often do you see these coin-operated rides these days? Some shopping malls have a few, typically a truck of some sort that rocks back and forth and makes noise. But like the video game arcades of previous decades, they seem to be disappearing.
This was the technology of the childhood of my generation. Video games and computers came along, as did the VCR (and Betamax). I am old enough to remember my parents having an 8-track at one time, and listening to such gems as the soundtrack from “Urban Cowboy.” (And the Bee Gees!) We had lots of records. I remember how easy it was to damage vinyl, or the needle on the record player. I remember when cassettes came along, and boom boxes, and how people thought that CDs would last forever. No, I don’t mean the technology, I mean we didn’t realize that like everything else, the data held on CDs will deteriorate with time.
Tying all of this together: last night I watched Interstellar. I will no doubt watch it again, as it was a very dense movie, with much to absorb. One of the more interesting aspects of the movie, at least for me, was the exploration of the relativity of time. I have to say, the concept of exploring time is every bit as fascinating as the exploration of space.