The “calling” experience
When you made a call from a landline, remember being chained to the phone for an hour because of that cord? It only let you walk within a one-foot radius of the phone. And we had very expensive long distance calls. There wasn’t any of this unlimited calling; we had to wait to use our “nights and weekends” minutes. You couldn’t just ring up your bae on the other coast. What about asking someone out over the phone? You had to dial their home phone number and possibly speak to their parents first. And the phrase “hanging up the phone” actually made sense.
Want to go back even further? AT&T produced an instructional film in 1927 called How to Use the Dial Phone, which demonstrates how to use the (now obsolete) phone book and dial a phone number.
Then came the internet
“Online life” was different, too. You had to make sure no one was using the phone before you were “connected” to the World Wide Web.And instead of Google, we looked up stuff up in real books and encyclopedias. Technology was easier to understand and most technological problems could be solved by just blowing into the cartridge.
We used the Yellow Pages and White Pages extensively
If you wanted to know a business’s phone number, you couldn’t look it up on their website. If you wanted to find the nearest dry cleaners, you didn’t Google it. You kept a thick set of reference manuals that were refreshed by the phone company and delivered to your door once a year.
Waiting for those pics
When you took a picture, there was no way of knowing if it turned out well or not. It was only after waiting for your photos to get developed at the local grocery store that you found out all of your pictures sucked to begin with.
And remember Blockbuster
Or your local video rental store? That feeling of checking out a VHS tape, and getting so mad when the last person who rented it didn’t rewind it. Or the frustration of going all the way to the store to rent a movie you’ve been waiting to see — only to find all the copies were out.
We used to remember things
A real friendship meant having the persistence to remember their number. You had to memorize all your important or frequently-used phone-numbers. Actually, this was not as difficult as it sounds, especially as typical phone numbers used to be somewhat shorter than the 12+ digit monsters sometimes encountered today. If you had too many numbers to memorize, or were just lazy, you would carry them with you in a diary, phonebook, Filofax (remember those?), electronic organizer, or personal digital assistant (PDA).
Unavailable actually meant something
If someone wanted to contact you while you were in transit or at an unknown location, they simply couldn’t. If you arranged to meet someone somewhere, you had to be punctual, because if you were delayed in transit, there was no way of letting the other party know you were running late.
Finally, we had a lot more patience
We waited hours to hear your favorite band or song play on the radio. Each week we anticipated for our favorite TV show. And of course, before there was Twitter, Reddit & Buzzfeed, people spent their days reading non-Internet material in the form of ink-and-paper books, magazines, and newspapers.