It’s A Different World

My double-digit son with his new iPod Touch and chocolate birthday cake!

The other night, my ten-year-old son and I were having a discussion about technology.  Specifically, how it seems like many of the kids in our neighborhood and in his last class at school have things he doesn’t have — namely a phone.

Ryan is ten years old.  I take him to school and pick him up each day.  He doesn’t travel anywhere without an adult.  There is no need for a phone.  (We did give him an iPod Touch for his 10th birthday).

I asked Ryan who he would call if he had a phone.  He listed me, my husband, and my parents.  I asked him if he needed a phone, and he told me no.

Then he asked me how old I was when I got my first cell phone.  I told him — I was in college, commuting on six buses a day, a roundtrip travel time of 3 1/2 to 4 hours each day.  My parents gave me a cell phone that looked like a brick.  With it came strict instructions not to use the phone unless, heaven forbid, there was a real emergency.  Otherwise, always keep some quarters in my backpack, and use a pay phone when needed.  (I never used that phone).

That is not the world in which my son is growing up. 

And that got me thinking about a post I wrote for MomsLA back in 2013.  Click here to read “6 Ways My Son’s Childhood Is Different Than Mine.”

A Doable Dream

I am in the middle of reading Eric Maisel’s A Writer’s Paris (though we have no immediate plans for a trip to Paris).  I love how Mr. Maisel describes Paris:  You feel at home in Paris because the things that you care about – strolling, thinking, loving, creating – are built into the fabric of the city.

My husband and I first traveled to Paris in the spring of 2005, and along with evoking a desire to return, reading this book has also made me stop and think about the technology we used then compared to what we rely on now.

On that note, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the ways technology has changed and the ways it impacted our trip.


— During March of 2005, the billboards around Paris were advertising Apple’s newest product, the Shuffle, a product that isn’t even made any more.  Now billboards (at least here in L.A.) advertise the iPhone X.   

— We stayed at a small, but clean hotel in the Opera District.  In addition to complimentary breakfast, the hotel also had a computer in its lobby that guests could use for free.  Of course, we’d have to wait our turn, but once the computer was available, we were able to send emails back to my parents in California.

— At some point during our trip, our 35mm camera broke.  I worried that the film inside would be ruined, and the pictures we had already taken would be forever lost.  And I was heartbroken that we wouldn’t be able to continue taking photos of our trip.

— Our first stop in Paris (after finding our hotel) was the Eiffel Tower.  We marveled at the size, at the number of people, at the elevators taking us up this monument.  (We made it to the second level; the third level was closed due to wind conditions we were told).  And on that second level, we found a pay phone.  It wasn’t easy to figure out, but we did eventually manage to make a phone call from the Eiffel Tower to my parents in Los Angeles.

Back then, my husband and I were both twenty-nine years old.  We explored the city relying on my two years of high school French and a guidebook.  No guided tours and no smartphone.  But we did it.  Because as Mr. Maisel writes, “Paris is a doable dream, and your writing is a doable dream.  Both require the same nurturing and the same attention, the same courage and the same perseverance.