I slipped into a meeting at work yesterday morning carrying a red and white Netflix envelope containing a DVD I was planning on dropping into the mailbox across the street afterwards. Judging by the response from my coworkers, you’d think I’d shown up with some rare, barely-glimpsed artifact from a different era.
“Is that an actual DVD?” Dan asked. When I responded in the affirmative, Kat replied, “They still make those things?!”
They went on to tell me that I “must be grandfathered in” because Netflix is a streaming-only service nowadays, and new members do not have an option for receiving DVDs. A little Internet sleuthing showed that this is not true. At least, I don’t think it’s true. Kat insists she signed up a month ago and was not allowed to select a DVD plan. After reading the above article, I’ll admit I was surprised by the prevalence of the streaming business; the latest figures show streaming customers outnumber DVD customers by about a 7-to-1 margin, and the gap continues to grow. The article calls shipping DVDs by mail “retro.” Hmm. This is all news to me.
No sooner had that dust settled than a friend messaged me to tell me her husband had just booked them an apartment in Honolulu for their upcoming honeymoon via Air BNB. “Too high-tech for me,” I told her, “This Air BNB business. I know nothing about that.” And it’s true: I have only the vaguest notion about what Air BNB is. Something about strangers renting out their homes to travelers. Kind of like a motel without the rack of postcards in the lobby. Without the lobby, for that matter. When I asked Kat if not knowing about Air BNB made me old, her response was an emphatic YES. Capital letters and all. Even though we sit across from each other we were holding an electronic conversation, because that’s what this generation does.
Jesus, I feel old.
(And I just Googled “Air BNB.” Found out it’s actually “Airbnb.” See how hopelessly out of touch I am?).
When I got my first “real” job after college, I was the young, fresh-faced guy in the office, the newbie who didn’t know his way around a fax machine. Now, 20+ years later? My office doesn’t even have a fax machine. And even if we did, it would be about as alien to some as that weird red and white envelope I was carrying around. They’d probably think it was some newfangled coffee maker and end up accidentally calling China while randomly pushing buttons to get a perfect brew. Not helping matters is the fact that a couple of my coworkers are younger than my son. I was sitting in somebody’s office yesterday for a conference call and came to the disheartening realization that I had already graduated from college and was faxing stuff at my first “real” job before she was even born.
She probably has a Netflix streaming-only subscription and books exclusively through Airbnb whenever she goes on vacation.
Meanwhile here I am, walking the dinosaur every morning before work. At least in their eyes. It wouldn’t surprise me if they start calling me Fred soon. As in Flintstone. Though if it were up to me, I’d rather be Barney. ‘Cause, you know…
Some of my blogging friends can relate to this post, I’m sure. But others are like my China-calling, coffee-brewing “what’s that shiny plastic disc you’ve got there?” coworkers.
The generation gap has never felt wider.