The World of Our Childhood

My book Alien World is the story of an alien who crash lands on Earth and is forced to spend the rest of his life living incognito in Earth society. Parts of are set in 1966, 2020, 1989-91, and a few other years. It was fun to take an alien point of view of our society. In writing it I was surprised how easy it was to slip into the world of 1966, which I remember from my childhood.

For instance, I was writing a scene set in a diner, and I needed to have a newscast playing in the background. My first thought was to put a television on the wall, but I immediately realized that TVs mounted on walls came in during the 1970s and reached ubiquity only in the 1980s with the growth of cable news. I knew instinctively that my 1966 diner would instead have a radio sitting on a shelf playing the Top 40 with news every half hour.

The world of our childhood is the first world that we know. It is the first place in which we understand the rules. Rules such as the phone booth on the corner that required a dime. Rules such as watching network TV during primetime. Rules such as ordering Christmas presents through the Sears catalog. Those rules no longer apply today.

As the world changes, we change with it. We learn about personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, streaming TV, etc. But all of those worlds are like second languages to us. Our first language is the world in which we grew up.

I was talking about that concept with a college student. She agreed with me, saying, "Yeah, I keep thinking it's 2012." That didn't make me feel old at all. But it validated my point.

So think back to the way things were when you were ten years old. What year was that? What was life like then? Does it seem to you that that was "normal" and every change since then is a deviation from normal?

Now realize, that I was thinking of a different year than you were and a different normal. Your parents would think of a different year. George Washington, if you could ask him, would be thinking of a different century entirely.

My point? We are all on a journey to a foreign country known as the future. You just as well understand how your own preconceived notions color your perception and learn to embrace the world as it is.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on February 23, 2020 13:41 Tags: 1966, alien-world
No comments have been added yet.