Last month, we visited my dad to celebrate his 80th birthday. A great accomplishment, and we had a great time with the whole clan together. (It doesn’t hurt that San Diego is a great place to visit ) One question that was asked of my dad was: “What is the biggest change in your lifetime(so far)?”
I believe it was asked to try to determine what technology (was it the coming of personal computers? Or the increase in access to information that the Internet brought? Or ???), or some societal change (the fall of communism). But the answer was surprising.
My dad said that the thing that changed the most from his childhood to now was that everything has gotten louder. That it was hard to get to a place of solitude.
Being that he grew up on a farm in Michigan, starting in the Depression, to where he is today is a pretty remarkable path. From having no indoor plumbing (i.e. the toilet was the outhouse), to modern society there are many new sources of environmental noise. He mentioned one of his pet peeves, the gasoline powered leaf blower. A relatively recent invention, I believe EVERYONE can relate to how it has affected them, from landscapers starting their day at 7:00 AM, to the perpetual drone in a suburban neighborhood.
I can certainly see his point.
While I am sure my dad would think that the march of technology advances have been worthy, it is not surprising how he would identify the crush of modern life as the big loss from his past.