You think you’re a pretty hip grandmother or grandfather. You use the internet all the time, you have a Netflix account, and you not only have a smart phone, but you use the thing. Still, sometimes your age hits you like a sack of flour, particularly when grandchildren are involved. Things have changed a LOT since we were their age, and some of the things we say reflect how life used to be, but they don’t make sense for how life is now. Here are some of the most confusing phrases your grandchildren don’t get.
The Alarm Clock That Rings
These days, alarms whistle, sing a song, honk, or whatever you tell your phone to do. But you probably remember when your alarm clock was a clock and it had an actual bell on top.
Bells ring, so forever does your alarm, even when it doesn’t.
Rolling the Windows
This one doesn’t sound so silly, but to your ten year-old counterpart, they think it’s downright bizarre. Remember when you had a lever that you turned to make the window go up or down?
You had to reach across the entire car if the passenger forgot to put it up, or to lock the door. Now, there are buttons. It’s a lot better.
Surfing the Internet is Being On Line
There was, of course, no queue to get on the internet, but there was a phone line, and you had to plug it into the computer to get it working.
Off line meant no web since you weren’t connected by the phone line.
Dial the Phone
It doesn’t seem so strange to us, but our grandchildren think this is archaic – the rotary phone, that is. Dialing comes from moving the dial to each number, rather than punching it in like we do now.
Hang up the Phone
Similarly, once you were done talking on that rotary phone, to end the call you placed the hand piece onto the receiver that would catch the phone in a cradle and disconnect – phones were mounted on the wall, so to do this, the hand piece must be hung onto the receiver.
A Device is Activated by Turning it on or off
You know this one, it has to do with knobs that must be rotated, or turned, in order to activate a device. Are they so old fashioned? It seems so.
CC on Email
We know it means carbon copy, and that’s exactly what it comes from. Originally, a carbon copy was created when a piece of carbon paper was placed between the original paper, and a blank page (or a copy of the same form, if applicable). Then, when you wrote, it copied it your handwriting from the top page onto the page underneath. These soon came bound together (and in some places are still used). Later, it became practice to write cc next to a person’s name at the bottom of a memo so they would receive it too, even if they weren’t the main recipient, which is how it transferred to email.
So there you go, your cultural history is mysteriously reflected in daily vernacular. Now you can cringe every time you tell your grandchild to roll up the window, then hang up the phone, and turn on the news.