Amy Roberts: It’s so noisy these days
Red Card Roberts
August 29, 2017
One of my biggest pet peeves is to hear or read the words, "these days." They are usually stated immediately following a grievance of some sort. There's often a slow, disapproving shake of the head and a disparaging frown for added effect.
"Kids just don't value hard work these days."
"People are just so inconsiderate these days."
"No one takes pride in their work these days."
You get the idea.
Perhaps I dislike "these days" so much because I heard it so often in earlier days. My grandfather used to finish nearly every sentence with a dour "these days." There was often a story about life during the Great Depression involved, which he always ended with, "You kids just don't know how lucky you are these days."
As an adult, I have sworn to never end a sentence with, “these days.” Mostly because I am thankful “those days” I’d be referring to are quite different from “these days.” I’m glad I don’t have to pack a Walkie Talkie every time I go skiing. Google is loads better than that encyclopedia collection I hauled off to college. And, I’m really grateful there’s a different style nowadays.
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I spent most of my childhood feeling guilty I wasn't born in the 1920s.
In my teens, I noticed my dad had picked up this habit too. At least once a week he'd ask my sisters and me, "Why do you kids dress like orphans these days?"
I spent my high school years wondering where this mysterious orphanage, where all the kids wore bleached Lee jeans and Reebok high tops, was located.
As an adult, I have sworn to never end a sentence with, "these days." Mostly because I am thankful "those days" I'd be referring to are quite different from "these days." I'm glad I don't have to pack a Walkie Talkie every time I go skiing. Google is loads better than that encyclopedia collection I hauled off to college. And, I'm really grateful there's a different style nowadays. If things hadn't changed, I'd have to buy two plane tickets every time I fly — one for me and one for my hair.
But the last few weeks, I've nearly slipped. Several times I've caught myself just before "these days" rolled off my tongue. While life might be easier now, it's hard to argue the simplicity of "those days." The days before cell phones and apps and 24/hour cable news, live streaming, social media, drones and one-click online shopping, were a part of the day. They've all made life more convenient, but they've also made it so much noisier.
At least that's that conclusion I reached over dinner with a friend this weekend. Recently divorced, she's exploring the world of online dating. It's fair to say she's a bit exasperated by it. "All this swiping and winking and deciphering and analyzing, it's exhausting," she told me. "I miss the days when a man just boldly asked you on a date."
I nodded sympathetically. "Dating is hard," I acknowledged. "These days" almost slipped out.
Our conversation switched to work. She spoke about clients who always show up late, or worse, not at all. "No one respects anyone's time these days," she told me.
I cringed but agreed. Then explained my frustration with an upcoming event I'm organizing. Registration is not where I think it should be. "I've put ads in the paper, been on the radio, there are flyers everywhere, it's all over social media, there's been news coverage and multiple email blasts, and still people tell me they haven't heard about it," I grumbled.
"It's tough to get anyone's attention. Everyone is so busy and distracted," she said.
"There's just so much noise," I made myself stop before a "these days" rolled out.
We talked about all that noise. The digital clutter constantly competing for our attention. Both of us checking our phones regularly, and interrupting one another to show what was on our screen at any given moment. The irony was not lost on us.
While the photos from her online dating prospects were entertaining, and my detailed strategy for promoting this event gave us something to brainstorm about, the noise generated by both gave me pause. These days, I sometimes miss the good ole' days.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident, and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.