Saturday, December 21, 2013

Toy Story Rewind

His '56 Chevy pickup truck should have tipped me off that I was marrying a Luddite.  But it didn't.  I just thought he was a guy that likes old cars.  Turns out it's not just cars.  He likes old.  Including women.  Lucky for me.

I assumed since Will is ten years younger than I am that he'd be keeping me up-to-date on the latest gadgetries.  Isn't that what Millennials are known for?  Showing us old folks how to use our phones?  

My thirty-two year old husband doesn't even own a cell phone.  Never has.  He's borrowed mine a couple of times when he needed it for work, but he always hands it back to me in a hurry and rushes off with Katie to play The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time on his still-working Nintendo 64.

I'm not much more up-to-date.  I just got my first cell phone a couple of years ago after Katie and I got stranded in a shady part of town when the timing belt on my car picked a bad time to go out on me.  But I have an excuse for being such a latecomer to the technology game.  Two excuses.  I just turned forty-three and my frugal ass dad just turned eighty-six.

In other words, when I was first born I lived in a house that didn't have central air conditioning.  My dad bought a window unit, but he'd only run it in his own bedroom at night.  The rest of us went to bed with wet washcloths on our foreheads and boxfans pointed directly at our beds.  I thought everyone popped popcorn on the stove with oil in a pan and everyone knew it took an hour to fix a baked potato since we didn't get a microwave until I was about twelve.  I was fourteen when we got our first VCR.  When we signed up for our video card at the mom and pop video store around the corner from our house--before those bastards at Blockbuster came to town and ate up Mom and Pop's video business, before Netflix ate up Blockbuster--the first video we rented was "A Room with a View."  We had it out on a five-day loan.  Mom and I must have paused the part where the naked men are running around a pond about a hundred times, giggling, during that five-day loan.  Later, when mom figured out how to work the machine, she taped a copy of the movie for me when it was on TV.  She didn't cut out the commercials, so if you ever want to see Bill Cosby sell pudding pops, stop by and I'll pop the tape in.

I'm serious.  It's almost 2014 and we have three working VCRs in our house.  Two were given to us by loved ones whose pity for us almost equals their love for us.  One Will bought for five bucks at a garage sale.

"We already have two!" I yelled when he brought it home.

"Now we have three," Will smiled.  He's so shitty to argue with.  He mostly just doesn't, and then I feel like a jerk.

"But what if it doesn't work.  You know, they haven't sold those in a store for years.  There's no one around who repairs those things anymore," I chided.

"So what?  It was five bucks.  If it doesn't work I can take it apart and tinker with it."

He has a point.  What's five bucks for a good tinker?

But it does work and we watch VHS tapes on it all the time.  Will frequents garage sales and pop culture shops that sell used videos for two bucks a piece.  Katie is well cultured in 80s and 90s pop culture.

Tonight I walked into the living room and saw this case open:


This face was on the screen:


And then this one followed:


The tape was rewinding, but still projecting on screen.

"Don't you want to push stop first and then rewind?" I asked Katie, who was sitting on the couch eating a burrito.

"It's broken," she said with her mouth full.  We're doing a half-way decent job of raising a kid who is aware of pop culture's historical significance, but we're pretty crummy at raising a kid who is well cultured enough to not talk with her mouth full.

"What's broken?" I probably gasped a little more than a normal person should.

"The stop and then rewind.  It won't rewind that way.  It just goes to play."

I'm not much of a tinkerer, so I wasn't about to try to fix it.  I offered all I could.  "Do you want me to take it into our bedroom and rewind it faster on that VCR?"

"No, that's OK.  I like it this way," Katie said, looking back at the screen.

"Watching it backwards?" I asked, chuckling.

"Yeah," she said, not looking away from the screen.

"Was this movie at the very end of the tape when you began watching it backwards?" I asked.

"Yep," Katie said.

"You've watched nearly the whole thing from the end to the beginning?" I asked, not quite sure I believed she had the patience to do that, even on slow-rewind.

"Yep.  I like it this way."

Can you stream a movie from the end to the beginning?  I don't think so.  See what kids with more modern parents are missing out on?  A different perspective.  We're not depriving our child with our lack of modern devices.  We're teaching her history.