“Just tonight I stood before the tavern
Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that lonely woman really me?”
How poignant! Please read on.
“Though we tend to remember bad events as well as we remember the good ones, the negative colouring of the misfortunes fades with time, particularly the ones that happened to us. We are wired for nostalgia: in human memory, time heals most wounds. Two other illusions mislead us into thinking that things are not what they used to be: we mistake the growing burdens of maturity and parenthood for a less innocent world, and we mistake a decline in our own faculties for a decline in the times. As the columnist Franklin Pierce Adams pointed out, “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”
~ Steven Pinker.
Pinker has got it bang on. As our faculties decline, we think that the decline is in the current times. Pune where I live is currently in the grip of a cold wave. I have lived here for the past 28 years and have experienced temperatures lower than what we have seen so far this winter. I have however been feeling the cold for the first time ever and have been wearing warm clothes round the clock. It is not that the bad new days are here. It is just that I have aged and my body is less capable of handling the cold conditions.
A dealer in antiques has regularly been contacting me to see if I have any thing that I want to dispose off and earlier this week he showed me a photograph similar to this one. This is a coal fired water heater kept in our bathrooms in the good old days before electric water heaters of either the immersion variety or the storage types became common features in our bathrooms. The dealer wanted to know if I had a piece or if I knew of anyone with one as, he had a customer for it. Every day as I take a hot water shower should I think of these old conveniences as belonging to the good old days? Leave alone the hot water aspect, those days, we did not have showers and drew water from bucket using mugs to pour on our head to bathe! Good Old Days?
For almost half a century of my life, I lived in a Socialist society and have experienced shortages of just about everything. When I mention this to the younger friends, they simply cannot understand how difficult it was to get milk or baby food when today, they can buy just about everything online for home delivery at a convenient time. Good Old Days?
I bet that most of my readers will remember the days of telephone booths, collect calls, waiting for connections etc. Good Old Days?
When I hear complaints of some kind or the other about adult children treating grand children badly, I often tell grand parents of my age that there is simply a memory gap and not a generation gap as, we brought up our children in more or less the same way. I am not exactly popular particularly because, I don’t have grandchildren of my own! At least I have my memory intact.
No, I think that I prefer the Good Present Days, thank you.
I have a feeling that Shackman, the other blogger in the 2 on 1 topic plan, is likely to write differently on this topic. Please do go over to his blog to see his take. Thank you.