Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 1, 2005
The New Yorker magazine recently ran a fun story about living in 1992. It was written by a boy whose teacher asked his class to pick a year in history and try to live for a week the way people lived back then. This particular student picked 1992, figuring it wasn’t that long ago and that, consequently, it wouldn’t cramp his lifestyle too much. How wrong he was. Turned out, watching DVDs was out. He lost his favorite video games, Internet access (and e-mail) and his cell phone (since cell phones weren’t in common use back then). The kid also had to cancel his mom’s Botox procedure; when the mom found out, “my mother wanted to punish me by depriving me of something that I care about, but just about everything that’s important to me was basically already off limits for the week anyway.”
Indeed, it’s amazing to see just how much technology has advanced in the past 13 years. Back then, we didn’t have Lasik eye surgery, online banking, text messaging, wireless broadband access, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). Laptops were considered to be luxury items for the wealthy business traveler. Cell phones looked like bricks. How journalists survived back then I have no idea. Back in 1992, one couldn’t look up sources’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses online or see what’s already been written about a particular topic. One had to call lots of people to get things done. On a regular phone, of course.
How was your life different back in 1992?