This is part 2. For part 1, go here.
Ah the 90s. In all honesty, I didn’t much care for them, but that’s because I was a kid and being a kid sucked. Then again, as I discussed in the prior post, nostalgia is part missing something that can never be reclaimed, not simply the state of mind I was in at the time. So, what’s been lost to the annuls of history, or will one day be lost, yet iconic to this decade?
I enlisted Liz’s help for a list (this is not a list post–I hate those). Here’s what we came up with:
- Shopping malls: The family day trips with acquisition objectives. Someone always needed shoes it seemed, and there was never a dedicated trip to a shoe store. No, instead the clan was loaded up and sent off to the South Plains Mall (AKA “The Piece of Bread and Three Candy Bars” mall–my sister though that’s what the sign looked like), where mom and dad would divide and conquer, dragging us to multiple outlets for everything else that was running out or no longer fit. Socks, bras, and jeans were the common items, and the proper brands for each were never at the same store. On second thought, this might not be nostalgia at all. Then again, there were the stops at the aquarium store, the nature store, and the McDonald’s–all in the mall. Maybe it’s the idea of actually shopping that’ll be missed, replaced by the instant online ordering and one day shipping. Searching for the right item was miserable, but allowed for instant gratification.
- Cash: My dad still pays with cash. I find it cumbersome now, yet it’s tangible. At one brief point in my life I worked for tips, and while the pay was paltry, the envelope of $1 bills in my lockbox sure seemed like a lot of money. Cash was fun, and exciting, and still somewhat of a mystery. How did they get that security strip in there? And a fat wallet sure made me feel rich.
- Driving: I don’t see us as a society ever fully getting away from personal automobiles, but with the advancements of autonomous vehicles, it’s well within the realm of possibility. And ride-sharing programs will fill the gaps. In short, there will be far less of an immediate need for personal cars in early adulthood.
- Bookstores: Once upon a time these were the only place to get books. We were at the mercy of whatever they stocked, but that also made finding a certain book more exciting. Now we can buy whatever suits our whim, and with endless choice comes decision anxiety. Maybe this is more of a commentary on ecommerce as a whole, but the bookstore especially was such a fun place to explore endlessly.
I realize now that much of what defined the 90s was the technological advances, specifically the internet; or rather, the calm immediately preceding the technological storm. The 90s was the last truly tangible decade, before the digital world. It wasn’t necessarily disconnected, but the connections were slow. Navigating the world in the 90s was more deliberate and time-consuming. I daresay that it was a simpler time as a result.