Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Living in Two Centuries
This morning,after checking the Weatherscan radar and seeing rain everywhere, I was in no hurry, since my garden restoration morning was a washout. Instead I played for a few minutes with my television remote.
No use going to The Cooking Channel,now worthless without Sara Moulton, and Mario Batali, and Julia Child. No use in going to "On Demand" to see another" American Pickers" about vintage lawn mower motors and Indian motorcycle parts. And forget "Rizzoli and Isles" and its recycle of cliched plots from every other crime show ever aired.
But then-my remote landed me in another century. And there he was-stolid and earnest-
Broderick Crawford in "Highway Patrol", broadcast by a channel called "THIS".
I watched Highway Patrol when I was 6 years old.
Broderick was asking what we,the Pre-Tweet Generation, would have called a "bobby-soxer", if she had a telephone he could use.
"I am happy to say I do,"she said,saving Mr Crawford the trouble of driving around looking for a phone booth.
"I am happy to say I do". This young woman saw it for the wonder it was, even if she had to share it with others on an antediluvian party line. They did exist.The old New Hampshire farmhouse my family moved to in 1960 had one. You could listen in if you wanted.( Remember that "Peyton Place" was written about a small Granite State town).
More than time is between us and the world of 1964.( George Orwell and H.G. Wells were not just novelists). Our thumbs are servants of our little machines, and our phones are computers and televisions and beacons that pinpoint us where we stand. Someone monitors us and tracks us for both security and profit.
"Yes Sir!", I say to Mr Broderick, "I am happy to say I do! And I am watching you on it right now-".
Just as an aside, and slightly interesting, I will point out that the Nashville suburb of Bellevue where I live, once had a reputation as a Tennessee version of "Peyton Place".
Someone wrote a song about it. A song called "The Harper Valley PTA".