Of Gaps and Gadgets

I was just down at the grocery store and ahead of me in line were two girls, I’d guess about fifteen or sixteen years of age. Now, sometime earlier in the morning somebody who still owns and uses a VCR had apparently picked out a 5-pack of blank VHS-tapes from some obscure corner of the store and then had a change of heart, dumping it among the chocolate bars on the candy rack. While I admit that my own reaction upon seeing it was something along the lines of ‘Wow. Do they actually still sell those here? I haven’t seen them in years.’ I was not at all prepared for the conversation I was about to witness. Here’s what happened:

One of the teenage girls picked up the tapes and, holding them up, asked the other one

‘Ey, what the hell is this?’

to which the answer that followed was

‘I’m not sure. I might be wrong but I think it’s something they used before there were DVDs.’

The one holding the tapes then fell silent for a while and inspected them a bit more closely, from different angles, and then said

‘Really? They seem incredibly inconvenient. So these are blanks then? How much do they hold?’

They both started giggling a bit before the other one said

‘I know. Right? I think seriously only about one full length movie.’

And they both laughed while putting the tapes back where they had found them.

I’m glad none of them turned around during any of this because I’m quite sure that my jaw had actually dropped, leaving me standing there with my mouth hanging open. I have of course used the phrase ‘I feel old’ before but I know now that up until a few hours ago I didn’t actually know what that meant. Wow. So that’s what it’s like? I was not prepared.

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