Irony, Nostalgia, and Some Revenge on Youth

Record player turntable
Generation Y kids are going retro, returning to old-school methods of listening to music.

We had a moment this afternoon in our household.  A moment whose irony and significance is not lost on this promoter of “better living through technology.”  My kids, ages 16 and 21, opened up their new turntable, and were approaching it the way I might approach a hot stove.  Mind you, this is a turntable that my son ordered (with much input from my audiophile husband) a mere 2 days ago from Amazon, which, through the magic of technology, appeared on our doorstep this morning.  These are kids who totally take over the car stereo through their phones’ bluetooth, streaming their iTunes or their Pandora or their Spotify, never listening to ANY one song in its entirety. Now they apparently want the “pure” sound that previous generations associate with analog music.

I came home from an appointment to find both kids hovering over the turntable, taking selfies with it, sharing their moment of discovery with friends far and near over social media the same way they now share the very music it was about to play for them.

Then the questions started — questions that reminded this technology coach that I should never assume that anyone has a context for understanding how to operate a device that is foreign to them and their generation.  For those of us who have ever asked a technology question of a younger person, only to receive a  heavy sigh and have them grab the device out of our hands so we don’t hurt ourselves, this was a moment of supreme…well, revenge.

I invite you to exact your revenge vicariously through this amusing series of questions and answers, all actual dialogues that happened in our house today:

Q: How do I charge it?
A: Um, it’s electric.  It has its own plug.  No charging.

Q: How do I pause it?  I have to take a call (what, not a text?).
A:  Um, lift the needle and put it back on the rest thingie.

Q: How about if I just unplug it instead?
A:  I guess that would also work.  (It did)

Q:  How do I skip to the next song?  (Because 30 seconds of any one song is too much)
A:  Gently lift the needle, look for the dark ring, and estimate where you’re going to gently drop the needle back.  (Followed by loud scratching sound–oops!)

Q:  Oh, so you flip it over for the other songs?
A:  (Silence)

Q:  How do I turn the volume up/down?
A:  See this multi-purpose dial?  On/Off AND Volume, all in one.  You won’t find such streamlining of features on your smartphones.  That’s space age stuff, right there.

Q: So you just get to watch it spin?
A:  Like a rotisserie chicken, yep.

Q:  How about we play Taylor Swift backwards, and listen to the secret messages?
A:  I bet they’ll still be about her love life.  Let’s try it!

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