Friday, December 10, 2010

Sign of the times

I need to mail a payment on my way to work tomorrow, and as I was addressing the envelope this evening, I had to stop and think hard about which corner the stamp was supposed to go in. I've been paying everything online for so long that I barely use the postal service anymore, and I'd forgotten.

It occurred to me then that I belong to the last generation of people who will remember getting that big stack of bills ready to mail out each month--G knows "paying bills" as something you do on the laptop, not at the kitchen table with a lot of envelopes and a checkbook. Similarly, going inside the bank is an unusual event for her: where I often went with my dad to deposit his paycheck and get cash for the weekend (if I was lucky, we'd use the drive-through teller, and I could watch the vacuum tube get sucked down and then shoot back up with money and a lollipop inside), she only knows that money somehow invisibly goes into my account and comes out again via debit card and computer, just as invisibly.

I'd never trade the convenience of the electronic method for the old hassles of waiting in line at banks and post offices, but it makes me feel a little like a time traveler to remember a world that doesn't exist anymore. I suppose it must happen to everyone sooner or later, at least in the modern world--if you lived before the Industrial Revolution, and certainly before the Renaissance, day-to-day existence didn't change much in the span of centuries, much less one lifetime. No wonder we're all so neurotic.

4 comments:

Stella said...

That is a very good point. Now I understand what is wrong with me! :)

Elaine said...

Back when I was raising my kids (I'm not as old as that sounds!) I had them sit with me to pay bills. I had them fill out checks and help with the check register, etc. How old-fashioned now!

Mel R said...

We're an old-fashioned family I guess, we've never paid anything online and do the stack of bills and checkbook at the counter. LOL We also don't use ATM's unless it's for emergencies or on trips.

Widow in the Middle said...

I have a big stack of unused stamp booklets and wonder how I'll end up using them since I so rarely mail anything anymore. I got a big smile out of remembering the drive up window days. When I was a kid that was such a marvel. I thought it was like something on the Jetsons cartoon show!