If Only Cell Phones Were Available...in 1991.
* * *
For all of the codgers (of which I am approaching that status more and
more each day) who bemoan the technology that children and teenagers
have in 2014, I offer this question.
If you're 40 or older, think back to when you were 16 or 17 and cruising the streets.
Wouldn't your social life have been so much more efficient with a cell phone?
I think of all those nights driving all over the St. Louis metro area
with my friends, on a mere "whim" that there would be a party at some
vague address in Chesterfield, or Kirkwood, or University City or in,
My buddies Drew, Kenton and Jelani and I were
like detectives working a homicide case. We'd get a tip, reliable or
otherwise, at the Burger King or a Steak-n-Shake in Brentwood (now
demolished, RIP S'nS), about a party somewhere within 20 miles and we
You'd start scribbling down directions in shorthand,
long before GPS. "R on 40, L on Woods Mill, R on Clayton...". It was
I can still hear Eddie Money crooning "Two Tickets to
Paradise" as we would search in vain, top down on my red Wrangler. One
of my friends would be going through this 100-page, spiral-bound atlas
of the St. Louis metro area that I kept in the Jeep.
Did I mention going through it with a flashlight?
That's how we did it. An atlas and a flashlight. My version of "uphill both ways in the blazing heat and the blinding snow".
I still remember this one night, that summer of 1991, where three of us
drove 117 miles all over the area. We found nothing. Then, as we're
gassing up (at least that was under a buck a gallon back then) at 1:30
in the morning, we run across a crew of people we know. They told us
where that particular party was.
We missed the party by three blocks.
I guess I didn't see the endless Camaros, Ford Escorts, IROCs and Bonnevilles parked on the side of the road.
In 1991, I did have one buddy with a cell phone. David drove this
white Pontiac Grand Am and liked to flash the cell phone like he was the
Fresh Prince in "Parents Just Don't Understand". Except no one else we
knew had a cell phone and it wasn't like people were sitting at home on
a Friday night to call. Like giving a fish a bicycle.
Sometimes our quests would locate a party. Most times they wouldn't.
However, those journeys often elicited hilarious stories and incidents
that I remember all these years later. Perhaps not having a piece of
technology we all take for granted in 2014 was not a bad thing.
And, to think, WE thought we knew everything. We would watch "American Graffiti" and laugh at THOSE old codgers.
Yet we were the same codgers. Just with worse haircuts.