When I was a kid, I had a friend who lived in the Old House. Inside it were old phones, old radios, old clocks. If my friend’s family had it, it was old.
It’s not that I wasn’t acquainted with old things. My parents had only at rare intervals bought a stereo to replace our one-speaker hi-fi system, covered our bedroom floors with shag carpeting, and and brought in some Danish Modern furniture. Whatever they didn’t replace, I suppose, was old.
The difference was that everything in the Old House seemed of a piece. It wasn’t the 1970s there, but the ‘50s, or even earlier. Time had forgotten everything behind those pulled roller shades. Visiting my friend’s house contributed to my youthful belief that, at a certain point, every grownup stops updating.
The ensuing decades have lent me a more nuanced view, and when I think of the contents of that house I no longer think old. I think swank. Would it be possible now to gather those antiques in one place at any price? And what would possess anyone to unload them? My view now is: whatever it is, hold out a little longer.
So I was surprised that when I recently announced I had just bought my first cell phone, several of my friends called me a Luddite. I suppose that was a put down. The irony is they were telling me this on Facebook.
I have an uneven relationship with technology. I’m unenthusiastic about electronics that are small. Or expensive. But if I’m anything, I’m a Luddenite. While our old furniture was getting older, I was in front of the TV watching Password. That Alan Ludden, he sure could host .