Views #1525 | Intermediate (B1)

Life in the 80's

Hear about how life was different in the 80s in America and New Zealand

Todd: Rachel, did you grow up in New Zealand?

Rachel: Yes. I did.

Todd: Nice. I grew up in the States, and I thought we would talk about how life is so much different for teens today than it was for our generation.

Rachel: Okay. I think we can do that.

Todd: Obviously the first thing is that when we were young, we didn't have smart phones and things like that. We didn't have the internet, actually.

Rachel: We didn't have internet. We didn't have email.

Todd: Yeah. I remember if you wanted to meet a friend, you would have to plan it way in advance.

Rachel: Yes.

Todd: You would have to wait by the phone. Remember that, waiting by the phone. You couldn't go outside because if you were waiting for the call, you had to wait at your house until you got the call, and then...

Rachel: We didn't even have an answering machine at my house.

Todd: Wow, my gosh. That's really old school.

Rachel: We used to have to wait by the phone.

Todd: Yeah.

Rachel: I used to spend every afternoon after school on the phone with my friends. After we got home from school, we would call each other, and discuss the day's events I suppose.

Todd: Yeah, you had so much to share. That's true. I think...

Rachel: So, my teens these days, they come home from school, they get on their phone, and they text all their friends.

Todd: Right. And they do it all day, like it's constant. Constant chatter.

Rachel: Yeah.

Todd: I think maybe that's why I'm not so much into texting. It's just too much work. I like to build up the mystery of not knowing what somebody did for a while.

Rachel: Mm, yeah. But I was thinking about it recently, and I think that it was similar because we used to telephone a lot. But then we did have to wait a long time before finding the news.

Todd: True. Yeah, I read once about how a lot of the movie plots from the '60s, '70s, and '80s wouldn't work today because of cell phones.

Rachel: Yes.

Todd: Because a lot of the story line...

Rachel: ...are about missed communications and...

Todd: Right, right. Yeah.

Rachel: Yes. And somebody arrived and somebody else didn't.

Todd: Another one I think that's really obvious is bottled water. When I grew up, there was no such thing as bottled water. You had to get water from a faucet, right?

Rachel: Yes, or a tap.

Todd: Yeah, and I think I remember when they first started coming out with bottled water. I think I was about 14 or 15.

Rachel: It was a bit later in New Zealand, I think.

Todd: Yeah. That was crazy. I mean, do you remember what it was like when people were first drinking bottled water, how strange it seemed at the time? Everyone was like, "Why don't you get it from the tap?"

Rachel: Well, it's very clean in New Zealand, so the tap water was clean. So, there was really no reason.

Todd: Yeah, if you come from a temperate climate, it was never a problem, right? Because you just ... I'm from a temperate climate as well, and so the water doesn't really have problems with bacteria or things like that. It's always clean. It used to be clean. In New Zealand, it's probably still clean.

Rachel: The rivers used to be clean, but they're not so clean now.

Todd: Oh really? Even in New Zealand?

Rachel: Problems, yeah.

Todd: Oh, really. Shocking.

Rachel: Mm, it's a bit sad.

Todd: Yeah. How about other things that we used to do when we were kids. One thing is, I think compared to kids today, is we used to spend a lot of time outside.

Rachel: Yes.

Todd: Actually, our parents would not allow you to stay inside. You had to go outside.

Rachel: You had to go outside.

Todd: Right?

Rachel: It's the opposite today.

Todd: Yeah.

Rachel: They tend to make them stay inside, won't let them go outside.

Todd: Why is that? What's the rationale for why they should stay inside?

Rachel: Safety.

Todd: Safety?

Rachel: Mm.

Todd: Yeah.

Rachel: We didn't used to hear about all of the kidnappings and abuse in the media, so people weren't afraid of it.

Todd: Right. Yeah. And the crazy thing is I think...

Rachel: You hear about it now.

Todd: It's actually safer now, right? They say...

Rachel: Yeah, it's safer now.

Todd: Even in the states, where they hear about this, I think statistics say that it's actually safer that it was before, but the perception is there.

Rachel: Although that could be because the children are all inside.

Todd: That's true. Yeah.

Rachel: That's a difficult one to figure out. But I don't think it's that unsafe to play outside. I think it's better for kids socially, for their bodies, for their development to play outside if they can.

Todd: I agree. I totally agree. Kids definitely should be outside. And kids should be bored. I think that's one of the things that kids miss out on is boredom.

Rachel: They're never bored now. They've always got a screen to look at.

Todd: Right. So, obviously when we were young, you had nothing to do, so you had to go outside and find something.

Rachel: Climb a tree.

Todd: Yeah. Exactly. Oh, that's so fun.

Rachel: I thought of something. We used to have video watching parties.

Rachel: Oh, yeah.

Rachel: Because only one person in 10 had a video machine.

Todd: Right.

Rachel: We would all go to the video store together, and argue over which videos to watch, and choose some horror movies and some comedies. And then go to one person's house, and all watch them altogether.

Todd: I do remember that. Yeah. It was a big thing.

Rachel: No Netflix binging, but yeah, having a video party at someone's house was a big deal.

Todd: And I think movies were a much bigger deal back then because we didn't have screen time. There was no such thing as screen time. You had your TV, but that was not the same thing. Your parents wouldn't let you watch that much TV anyway. And so a movie was a big deal.

Rachel: It was more of a big deal. You didn't just watch it on Netflix when you were bored.

Todd: Yeah, but a kid these days, it's just they're on their screen all the time. It's just more digital pixels. Yeah, different times.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

not (so much) into


I am not so much into texting.

Here, not so much into means to not like something. Notice the following:

  1. I am not so much into golf or tennis.
  2. She is not that much into jazz music.

old school


That's really old school.

Something that is old school was common before but not anymore. Notice the following:

  1. Car phones are old school.
  2. I prefer old school compared to modern.

come out with


They started coming out with bottled water.

Here, to come out with means to offer something new. Notice the following:

  1. The author has come out with a new book.
  2. Toyota has come out with a new line of cars.

no such thing


There was no such thing as bottled water.

No such thing refers to something a person feels does not exist. Notice the following:

  1. There is no such thing as the perfect life.
  2. I don't believe in magic. There is no such thing.

build up


I like to build up the mystery.

When you build something up, you try to create interest in it. Notice the following:

  1. The movie trailer did a good job building up the movie.
  2. Our new boss was built up as this great leader.



What's the rationale?

A rationale is the reason for something. Notice the following:

  1. The rationale behind the telephone is to make communication easier.
  2. Many people have a rationale behind their specific lifestyle choices.

miss out on


One thing the kids miss out on is boredom.

When you miss out on something, you do not get the chance to experience it. Notice the following:

  1. We got there late, so we missed out on the parade.
  2. Don't miss out on the sales at the mall this week.

a big thing / a big deal


It was a big thing.

When something is a big thing, or a big deal, then people consider it important. Notice the following:

  1. Missing work is a big deal.
  2. It's not a big thing if you do not come.

Vocabulary Quiz

come out with • build up • no such thing
rationale • miss out on • big deal
  1. Apple will a new phone this year.
  2. There is as a free lunch!
  3. Don't the big sale!
  4. A good drama will the tension.
  5. It is no if you cannot come to the party.
  6. What is your for doing it that way?
Answer the following questions about the interview.
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Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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