My daughter said she wished she was born in the 80s so she could grow up with friends who did stuff instead of living on social media. ?
— Randal Rauser (@RandalRauser) August 19, 2017
She loves the mixture of mystery, suspense, and peril in the story lines. But she also loves the fact that these shows depict kids doing things together: riding their bikes around town, making home movies, solving mysteries, playing board games, standing in the rain, and simply interacting socially as flesh-and-blood human beings.
I love Stranger Things and Super 8 for those same reasons. But for me, it is a matter of nostalgia: I remember those days. To be sure, I never experienced a dramatic train crash, a secret government laboratory, or the dreaded demogorgon. At least not in reality.
But our imaginations contained all of that and more. We rode our bikes around town; we experienced sugar highs on the picnic bench beside the 7-11; we swam in the lake; we played “manhunt” in the abandoned orchard and barn out back with toy guns and walkie talkies; we had a blast making bad home movies (one of our movies about Vietnam even featured a dramatic fight in the middle of a ring of fire; good thing my parents never asked what happened to the can of gasoline in the garage).
The other day when my daughter said she wished she’d grown up in the 80s, I felt something inside me break. She lives in a world where kids spent their free time shut up in their rooms, staring at their smartphones and laptops, interacting at a distance via Snap Chat and Instagram.
So when she watches kids living in a world of thirty plus years ago, she senses a deep envy. She’d trade her smartphone, her social media, and all her apps in a heartbeat just to have a Commodore 64 on her desk, a banana seat bike in the garage, and a friend calling her up on her rotary dial phone inviting her out for untold adventures.