Bob Dylan — 1964: “The times, they are a-changin’”... but so slowly you don’t notice at first. Then a kid walks by with his pants pulled down to his crack. You’re wondering what became of actual waists where belts used to be, and then you’re recalling other things you hardly ever see anymore.
Occasionally you still see a perky young lady dressed to the nines leaving the restroom radiating “special,” unaware of the trailing toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe. That’s not likely to change, but you’d hardly ever see the toe of a nylon pantyhose working its way through the hem of her slacks where static electricity entrapped it during the drying cycle. You don’t see that much now since practically no one wears pantyhose anymore, but I’d still like to know why the kid’s pants were so low.
Shoulder pads lost out to bare shoulders, arms and décolletage, which are now covered in colorful tattooed flowers suitable for hanging — which they will, like potted plants — as age loosens the skin palette and the artwork droops. I’m not missing shoulder pads in the least, nor those spidery, dyed-to-match, virgin-hair hairnets that blue-haired women of the shoulder pad era wouldn’t think of leaving the beauty parlor without. If the aerosol spray-can replaced the virgin-hair hairnet, I’d say it was a wiser exchange than trading in the bare décolletage for a flower garden tattoo.
It’s been years since I’ve seen an RN wearing the authentic, stiffly starched, immaculate white-winged nurse’s cap with the black stripe near the edge of the fold-back. How comforting it was to see her clad all in no nonsense white, crepe soles squeaking quietly against the floor tile as she came to see to my needs. Today’s RNs are possibly as efficient in their flowerdy smocks, but I hardly see how they could be.
The day when an entire restaurant was content to listen to the song purchased with the nickel you plugged into the jukebox is gone, and so is any restaurant quiet enough for table talk. Tent revivals are a thing of the past; except for Hobby Lobby, “Closed Sunday” signs are rare; little kids don’t play impromptu, unsupervised games in empty lots; push mowers are gone; dogs don’t run in packs and you don’t see entire families together stringing outdoor Christmas lights.
Sheets don’t flap on the clothesline anymore, and evaporated water coolers don’t roar in windows, dripping condensation in rivulets. TV antennas are rarely jerry-rigged to crumbling chimneys, and didn’t teens used to accessorize their stripped down jalopies with designer mud flaps?
There’ll come a time when tattoos are replaced by God only knows what and belts will again secure pants at the waist. I’m just sorry I won’t be here to see it, nor the other come-and-go replacements that succeeding generations are sure to come up with.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.