Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time Marches On

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!


Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I used to work in a darkroom in college. I ruined so many rolls of film. Digital is a blessing for me but honestly I miss the smells and the quietness of mixing up the chemicals, cutting the paper.

It's a lost art.

swampy said...

Do kids realize that some clocks used to have hands on them?

Or that once, we only could get two channels on the TV and to change them one had to go outside and turn the antenna with a pipe wrench...and that the picture was fuzzy and in black and white?

karisma said...

STOP IT ALREADY~ We are SO NOT OLD!!!! We may not have dark rooms, but we have chat rooms and blogs! Live and let live! I must admit I kinda liked the old darkroom development! It was fun!

Patience said...

That's a really dumb math question anyway!

BeeDancer said...

I still have rolls of film sitting in a cabinet...problem is I don't know where the camera is

I admit that for a snapshot photographer like me digital is a more going to the drugstore and paying for 1 or 2 pictures out of a roll of 36

Sandcastle Momma said...

Wow - that makes me feel old too!
We were in the store the other night and asked a young clerk of they had macrame cord and the clerk said "I don't know what macrame is" LOL

You know we aren't getting older - they're just getting younger!

Liane Michel said...

Remember when we played Barbies up there??

Beckie said...

That's just sad. Sometimes I don't even realize my kids don't know what something is until an incident like this happens. I'm quite certain that they don't know what developing film means.

PinkPiddyPaws said...

bwa..ha.ha..ha.. I hadn't even thought of that! What about Walkmans, does he know what those are or is he strictly an iTunes baby? ha..ha..ha..

nikki said...

I love developing my own film. I miss the darkroom a lot.

Your conversation reminds me of when Ken called some 45's really big CD's.

Jeff said...

Oh my gosh, just punish the kid, will ya? ;)