Sunday, May 07, 2006

Plastic world

Blogger warning: I’ve been waxing philosophical. This can be very painful, more painful than waxing eyebrows, although much more likely to happen in my world. Be warned, this post is heavy on “the way things used to be,: and “you young whipper snappers don’t know nothing” Please read with care.
It’s interesting the things that pull you up short, make you feel old and trigger the realization you are not living in the same world of your childhood.
I have come to terms with the fact that my children can’t believe I didn’t have a DVD player in my childhood, or even a VCR. They don’t know about typewriters, record albums or telephones with cords attached.
But this weekend I had another “what, they don’t make that anymore moment.” I am working on a scrapbook idea. (I know, big shock to everyone) and thought I might use a metal recipe file box.
So, I wrote it on my weekly shopping list.
Hum, Macy’s didn’t have one; neither did Albertson’s or Wal-Mart. A visit to office supply stores yielded plenty of plastic card files, but no sign of anything metal. I asked my friend from Australia, who does a lot of shopping at D.I. (The Mormon version of Goodwill). No, she had never seen any such object ~ had in fact never heard of them.
An on-line inquiry came back with the startling information that metal recipe file boxes are considered “something of an antique.”
Really? How odd.
So I made a visit to D.I. and with the help of DH managed to find many plastic recipe file boxes, a couple made out of cardboard, and one that looked like the metal boxes of my childhood, but made out of plastic. It was designed to look like a microwave oven, the kind found in the early 1970s when microwave ovens were new and hot. It was full of innovative microwave oven recipes.
Has it really been that long since you could purchase metal recipe boxes in the grocery store?
The microwave oven box will work just fine for my project. During my visit to DI I also found a great many other objects ripe for altering. So the trip was a useful one. But I can’t get over the lack of something I though was a common household item.
It pulled me up short with the realization of how much things have changed, and how much plastic there is in the world today.
Everything from the lenses of my glasses to the computer keyboard upon which I am typing is made of plastic. For the most part this has greatly improved my life.
But one can’t forget plastic ~ as moldable and durable as it can be, is not metal or glass.
I am pretty happy my peanut butter is in a plastic container. Otherwise I suspect I would be picking through peanut-butter, glass mixture on my tile floor on a fairly regular basis.
But I do miss the little wooden houses in my Monopoly game, long replaced by plastic ~ and eventually put away forever so we can play the game on the computer.
As I look around I am swamped in a sea of plastic. Plastic pens, plastic handles on my scissors, a plastic vacuum cleaner, plastic food containers, plastic-covered binders and a little plastic troll doll.
How come I didn’t notice it all changing?


JoE said...

Well, if I had been around, I would have directed you to Target--they had cardboard recipe boxes in their dollar spot this time around...

as for the plastic, yeah, sign of age. I still remember listening to my 45s on my portable record player. While at Disney, we stayed at the Pop Century resort. the 80s were represented, complete with 3 story high rubic's cubes, Mr. Potato Head, and a Giant Walkman by the pool. I don't think that I have ever felt quite so old.

Wyo sis said...

I didn't know metal file boxes were so rare either. We still have many in the Media Center. They contain old stuff, but haven't been discarded yet. We got rid of the card file almost 10 years ago, but we still have film strips and a few vinyl records. I have to confess we are still buying video recordings, because most of our machines play them. We will have to slowly phase them out. See me in ten years. Schools are a repository of out-of-date materials. We just can't seem to throw anything out.

Susan said...

I know exactly the type of metal recipe card boxes you're talking about! In fact I had a grey metal box like that when I was an administrative assist MANY yrs ago! Did you try looking at office supply places?