Cast your mind back to when cassette tapes were all the rage. Records (now very trendily renamed "vinyl") were gone.
Next thing you know, CDs and DVDs infiltrated with all their new and outstanding features and VHS and cassettes were on the way out. In fact, it was recently announced that movies won't be released on VHS anymore.
Suddenly I can look at my towering rack of VHS movies as collector's items. I am no longer out of date and out of touch, I am retro! While I may part with some of my VHS stash at garage sales, I am going to hang on to my Buns of Steel workout video to grim death — I have to draw the line somewhere.
The latest item I have been eyeing is an iPod. To be able to program thousands of songs onto a thin, portable device sounds really inviting. An added bonus is that these little gems have enough memory to keep playing songs until the Next Big Thing comes out. Honestly, 5,000 songs? Who has that kind of time? Even if you listened eight hours a day, it would take almost two whole months (without repeating any song) to get through it all. It's a little mind-boggling. I am not even sure I know 5,000 songs off the top of my head.
Cartoons like the Jetsons that we watched as kids are slowly becoming a reality. I bet that if we watched those shows more closely, we'd see that some of the technology is either in place already or is in the works.
OK, so we don't have flying cars yet, but we do have washing machines that can be programmed to get rid of specific types of stains. Spill ketchup down your shirt — no problem! Simply press the convenient "ketchup" button on the machine. How a computer can ascertain the difference between washing ketchup-stained shirts versus grass-stained pants, I'll never know. I like to think that there are helpful little gnomes inside the contraption, eager to assist with your stain-removal needs.
There is even a vacuum on the market that does all the work for you. It navigates itself around your house without you ever having to lift a finger. I think it must look rather odd to have appliances simply going about their business without any human intervention. Although, I suppose I must get with the times.
How did we survive without e-mail, fax machines and cellphones? This technology has completely revamped the way we communicate. Everything is instantaneous. How many times have you sent an e-mail and been incensed that the individual did not respond within five minutes? It's at the point where we simply assume that everyone is plunked in front of a computer all day long.
Before, you would write a letter or call someone if you wanted to get in touch. Now it's commonplace for people to develop real relationships with individuals who they have never met in real life or spoken to on the phone.
Some technologies can be a little daunting to those who aren't familiar with them. I say we all get out there and explore. One can only imagine how all these computer devices can enrich our lives. I look forward to the day when robots will clean my house and make dinner for my family while I am driving home in my car that runs on water.
Until that day comes, I will pre-soak my laundry while I exercise to Buns of Steel. Trends come and go. But no matter what happens, you don't mess with the classics.
Jodi Hargreaves is a Winnipeg writer.