How many of you are young enough to remember that classic song by Mary Hopkins – “Those were the days?”
Those were the days my friend/ We thought they’d never end/We’d sing and dance/Forever and a day?
Dammit! My grey hair is showing!
Yes, my friends… All my young friends. Let me tell you of the days of my youth. No, we did not have much on television. We did not even have too many products on the shelves. Our choices, from a capitalist, consumer perspective were limited.
You may pity us. No mobile phones, no Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, blah blah blah. We used to write letters to each other by hand, then we would neatly fold the paper, put it into an envelope, lick the sticky side of a postage stamp, paste it on to the envelope, trudge down to the post office, and send it off. Phase Two of this process involved waiting for the reply, and attempting to read the scrawl.
Because messaging was not instant, we would write long, descriptive letters.
We would either walk, or cycle to the post office. We would not get our driver to drive us in the car to the post office.
Whaaaaat? I hear you say.
Oh yes. We would drink tap water. No bottled water. Or, we would drink water from earthen pots, called a ‘gghara’
How primitive, I hear you say? Erk, Eek, Yuk.
As I mentioned, we would cycle – or walk.
On legs, I hear you say?
Yes, I say. The sky was blue.
Blue? You ask. What is that? A colour? Noooo, the sky is grey.
Yes, blue, I say. We didn’t have products on the shelves. No air purifiers, no pollution masks.
Seriously?, you ask. How did you live?
Oh, we didn’t need them, I say. The air was clean, the water was clean.
Sigh, I go. Remember Mary, I say – Those were the days my friend/ We thought they’d never end/We’d sing and dance/Forever and a day?
Who is Mary? You ask. What days? Why would you sing and dance? It is a love song. Yes, love for the old, cleaner days.
Oh very young ones! You are dancing on this earth for a very short while.
Do you want to live behind a gas mask?
Oh very young ones, what would you have?