Weird little things that make it feel as if we’re traveling back in time

Old style telephoneThis is not meant to be a whiny post (except when it comes to the bag bans, which still make me see red every time I go shopping).  It’s just meant to be an observation about declines in life quality over the course of my middle-aged life.

When I grew up, our phones had stable connections.  Now, thanks to the miracle of cell phones, my phone hangs up on me about as often as that fancy 1910 phone once hung up on my grandparents.

When I grew up, we kept our house at 72 degrees during the winter.  With the 1974 oil embargo, we lowered it to a chilly 68 degrees.  Nowadays, with utilities more expensive than ever, we keep our house at a frigid 62 degrees.  Of course, when I say “we,” I’m not including Obama.  Thanks to taxpayers, he’s always at a toasty 75 during the winter.

When I grew up — and, indeed until last year — when I went to a grocery store, the clerk would ring up my groceries and put them in a useful bag emblazoned with the store’s motto.  I’d take the bag home and use it again.  If it was paper, I used it for book covers, storing annual tax-relevant documents, wrapping packages destined for UPS, and holding recycling; if it was plastic, I used it for bathroom garbage bags, packing school lunches, cushioning a box’s contents for UPS, etc.  Nowadays, when I walk into a store, I’m festooned with various re-usable bags (E coli or salmonella sacs is how I think of them), making me look exactly like one of the bag ladies wandering San Francisco’s downtown area.

When I grew up, young men and young women socialized together.  They liked each other, but respected each other’s differences.  Today, we’re back to some weird variation of those 19th century rules that assumed every man was a rapist.  Back then, societies developed pragmatic strategies to keep a man and a woman from finding themselves alone before marriage.  Today, we simply lynch the men.

When I grew up, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, life was desegregated.  I got bused from one white middle class school to another formerly white middle class school that was made diverse by throwing in kids from all over the City.  By high school, race simply wasn’t an issue anymore.  Since I went to Lowell, we were all honorary Asians.  Today, the country is more racially divided than its been since the 1950s.  Black students self-segregate like crazy and black leaders assure the black community that all non-blacks are demonic people.

Don Quixote, one of the most level, non-hysterical people I’ve ever met, is becoming increasingly concerned about the endless waves of anger centered in America’s black communities.  He agreed with Jim Geraghty’s description of the new protesters:

Storming into bars and restaurants, locking themselves to concrete-filled-barrels and blocking Interstates… this is the progressive grassroots of 2015. This is the Left, capital-L. This is blind fury, lashing out at others for having the audacity to drink beverages, eat brunch, or commute in a manner that the self-appointed arbiters of justice on the Left deem insufficiently down with the cause. There is no actual “activism” here. There is no attempt at persuasion here. There is no thought here. There is only resentment and anger and a desire to lash out at anybody who isn’t one of them. There’s no agenda or plan to actually improve things.  There’s no call to action. It’s just rage-whining.

Everything really old is new again, and I don’t like it one little bit.