Sometimes things that you take for granted become obsolete without your ever being aware that they were.
Today, on the way home from the store, ZBoy decided to work on his math homework. He was moving right along until he got to some of the word problems on the back side of the page. Over in the passenger seat, he was making distressed homework noises and talking to himself quietly and I finally asked him what the problem was.
He had to figure out how much money he would have to spend for each picture on a roll of film, developing 4 rolls.
"It's like it's in Chinese or something! What are they talking about? How do you find out how many pictures come on a roll of film? And what's "developing"?"
SPROING! New gray hairs popped out all over my head.
I looked at his paper at the stoplight. There was a picture of a roll of film with "24 exposures" written on the side. I had to explain that "exposures" were, in fact, the number of pictures you could expect to get from that particular roll of film.
I know that generations before me have had major changes that wave goodbye as they disappear into the sunset before, but somehow it never occurred to me that I would be so intimately familiar with something that is becoming obsolete.
I remember as a child, my mother had a darkroom in the garage where she developed her own pictures. I used to play on top of it (it was like a big box sitting in the corner of the garage). I remember the smells that wafted up if she was working in there. I remember learning how to develop film myself and the clumsiness of trying to get the roll out of its casing with two hands inside a blackout bag and the thrill of seeing the image appear as if by magic on the paper and having to stop the development by plunging that paper into the "fix" so it wouldn't go too dark.
And I wondered... will ZBoy ever experience this first hand? Even the professionals are going digital these days. Is film actually becoming obsolete?
Hand me my cane, young man!