Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Kids Today

Back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I went off to college carrying one suitcase and a manual typewriter.

What the hell happened between then and now?

I know I'm just old but, really, tell me, especially those of you who are still CLOSE to college age, how did these items become mandatory in each and every dorm room? Cuz I'm just wondering:

  • TV (of course);
  • cable (of course):
  • DVD player (ok, this is new since last year);
  • fridge;
  • microwave;
  • lots and lots of supplementary food even though you are paying for a meal plan which serves, um, lots and lots of food, and even though you are a girl and eat one yogurt for lunch;
  • of COURSE, the mandatory cell phone (not really part of the dorm room, more of a fashion accessory);
    (Ed.'s note: Forgot to mention the mandatory LAPTOP, as Drew pointed out. Yeah, the laptop is like air. Non-negotiable.)

    Now NOD is a very reasonable kid, and though she may think her mother somewhat unreasonable, which her mother may be, but really I don't think so, she mostly keeps thoughts of mother's unreasonableness to herself. She and roommate are splitting the cost of the aforementioned items, and if NOD wants a TV in the room, with DVD, she'll pay for it herself, with money she earned herself, by working.

    But back in the day, there was one TV on our dorm floor (a special floor, btw, called "Middle Earth" (don't ask)), and we gathered around it to keep warm. No, not really. We gathered around it to watch the FIRST season of Saturday Night Live. Talk about your Must See TV.

    Oh the fun we had! TV!! A little box with small black and white people dancing in a snowstorm of static haze (remember, no cable). Then we'd pull taffy, and Pa would resin up the bow ... no, wait, that's from Little House on the Prairie.

    Anyway, back in the day, we had no phones! No cars! You want to go somewhere, you took the overcrowded, unreliable "T," walked or biked. I rode my bike through many a Boston snowstorm. (Yeah, really, I did. I swear. You can ask my roommate.)

    What the hell has happened in lo these few years? Where will it end?

    Cuz I'm just wondering.

    Susan said...

    Great thoughts that brought back many memories for me, too! Life was tough as hell, wasn't it? No fitness center, either I recall. Those are huge on campuses these days.

    Stephanie said...

    Jeanne, when I went off to college in 1996, the T.V., small fridge, microwave et al were just beginning to become "mandatory" for the socially acceptable collegiate student.

    I went to college ( where my parents went to college, so they had the attitude that, "if we lived without it, YOU can live without it." Nevermind social norms. So yes, my T.V. was watched in the lobby until my sophomore year when I managed to inherit an old T.V. from my parents when they moved to Germany.

    Great post though. I didn't get to bring my car there (Kansas City to East Tennessee) until my sophomore year either. And there was NO WHERE to walk to off campus because my campus was in the boonies, I swear.

    My parents told me about how when they went to Milligan, they didn't have phones in their dorm rooms. My dad had to visit the front desk receptionist at my mom's dorm to "ring" her down.

    Ramble ramble ramble...

    DREW said...

    What, no laptop? There are actually high schools here in the good 'ol USA that require laptops for every student. Don't tell me she's bringing your old manual typwriter?

    jeanne said...

    Ha!! i forgot, the LAPTOP! My typewriter is probably in the Smithsonian by now.

    a.maria said...

    being the young RBFer that i am (am i the baby of this group?) i am totally gunna have to back up NOD on this one....

    cafeteria food is, well...gross. so the supplementary food is much the cafeteria is not open at 3 in the morning for those all night um.. "study" sessions. fridge and microwave..well.. you gotta have somewhere to store the food for those, like i said, "study" sessions, and then cook the food, so.. must haves!!!

    DVD player... meh. i had a tv/vcr in one.... DVD's are what the LAPTOP is for!! (oh and um... studying!)

    cable... hmm. i think that kinda came with our dorm room. but really, i wouldnt know... bills like that are what my parents were for ;)
    (all you parents out there just cursed me a bit, didnt'cha?! heh.)

    as for the cell... i didnt get one till graduation. ohmygod this makes me old... cells were only starting to get quasi-mandatory the last two years of school.

    OMG that makes me old. ooouuuggghhh.

    man i wish i was back in college. those were the DAYS!


    21st Century Mom said...

    I so know what you mean. The really insidious thing about those in-room fridges is that the campus usually demands that you buy your kid a meal ticket (not to mention the dirty dishes in the room issue, ew!). Admittedly, I got my NOD the minimum meal ticket possible because the food was gross but still... then I had to keep juicing up her student-id-with-built-in-money-cache so she could buy food - on campus. Maddening.

    I did not pay for a fridge (her roomates did) or a TV or any of that - only a phone, as in land line. I did buy her a great computer which really is mandatory these days. I mean really, it is.

    Geting your kids to resist the siren song of 'you MUST have EVERYTHING!' seems to be much of what parenting in the 21st Century is about.

    jeanne said...

    Oh, 21st, you know what i'm talkin' about! especially when you grow up in Bethesda, Md, consumption city, where every kid doesn't just have his own car, oh no, he has his own beemer~! The college food thing is a total scam. NOD has the cheapest plan too, mandatory, of course, and still not enough.

    It was enough for us though! Man, we didn't even have food when we went to school!

    Krazy kids!

    David said...

    Let's see. Did you have air conditioning? Not me, in Florida no less. Phone - on the hall wall. Fridge - no. Microwave - what's that? DVD, cell phone - ditto. TV - Star Trek is on in the common room. Cable - uh, no.
    Supplementary food - available at all hours up at the Pancake House for all the stoners and drunks - I mean all night study nerds.
    Computers? Only the government had those and they wouldn't fit in my dorm anyway.
    I loved college. A simple time, all about self discovery and people.

    jeanne said...

    oh David, a man after my own heart! ah, for the simple days of yore!

    Buggie said...

    And the sad thing is that soon no one will need to interactt with anyone anymore. I went to boarding school and we always got together to watch tv in the tv room with the only tv in the building. It was great!
    Maybe that's why everyone is reaching out through these blogs? We need interaction. Just don't know where to get it anymore.