Many beloved '80s and '90s movies are driven by problems that would never crop up in modern life. Take for example Home Alone. In 2019, Kevin's mom could call on her cellphone the moment she realized he was missing. But let's be honest: with modern airport security being what it is, there's no way the McAllisters would have caught that flight to Paris. And, if you extrapolate even further, a power outage would never have caused an entire household to sleep in, since everyone would have had alarms set on their mobile devices.
But, just as many '80s problems are solved by 2010s tech, there are plenty of problems these days that never would have caused us grief 30 years ago. (h/t reddit)
1. Air travel problems.
Flying used to be way more fun, but in a post 9 / 11 world, things have gotten far less glamorous. Now we have to stand in line forever waiting to shove our bags through a scanner, then shove our shoeless bodies into a separate scanner, and make our way to the gate. And while 30 years ago it was no big deal to ask to show your kid the airplane cockpit, if you even try to approach a pilot these days you can expect to have an air marshal on your back before you finish the word, "Captain."
2. The utter panic of a Google outage.
It doesn't happen very often, but if one or more of Google's cloud computing miracles is down due to technical issues, planned maintenance, or a DDOS attack, you may as well take the rest of your day off to curl up in a corner and blow into a paper bag.
Thirty years ago, you'd need a private investigator and a lot of stamps to accomplish what an angry person on Twitter can if they disagree with what you say. Doxxing — AKA uncovering and disseminating somebody's private information — would be impossible on the scale it happens now, not only because of how much more legwork would be involved in gathering the information, but because it would take access to a TV or radio station to communicate it to a wide audience.
4. Everything needs a charge!
USB charging for various devices is a miracle, but now that we have so many devices that must be charged with USB cords, it can get a little much. First, I don't know about you, but I definitely have more problems plugging in a USB cord than a regular power cord. We've all tried to insert one, failed, and flipped it around the other way, only to realize we had it oriented right the first time. And in 1989, you never would have to decide whether it was more important to charge your headphones or your book.
It's not that the "fear of missing out" wasn't a thing in the 1980s. It's a driving force of movies about getting a date to the prom or attending the massive house party at the cool kid's house. But at least then you didn't have to see everyone's fun playing out in real time over social media, nor did you have to bear witness to the lavish vacations and luxuries your wealthier peers get to enjoy.
6. What should we watch?
In 1989, people had a much smaller selection of things to watch on TV, and even if you went to the video store to grab a movie, you didn't have literally every piece of video entertainment ever made at your fingertips. Who among us hasn't spent an hour scrolling through Netflix trying to decide what to watch and finally given up?
7. Getting hit by a texting teen.
On the one hand, drunk driving fatalities are on a major decline thanks to ride-sharing apps, better awareness, and improvements in car safety technology. But distracted driving, which is just as much an impairment to road safety, is a problem folks in 1989 weren't dealing with on this level.
Setting up plans with a friend might not have been as easy in 1989 but it was also much harder to cancel them last minute. In the 1980s, if you showed up for lunch with a friend and they decided they weren't "up to it" and bailed... well, I guess you're not friends anymore. Unfortunately, modern tech makes it a lot easier for people to back out of plans with friends because the stakes aren't quite so high.
Dating has probably always sucked in every decade or century of human existence, but it was a whole lot harder for people to hide who they truly are from you in those early courtship days. So many relationships begin online, so now it's not just complete sociopaths who can be out here living double lives and fooling unsuspecting folks with a phony profile pic and bio.
10. $6 coffee.
Look, I love specialty coffee as much as pet owners love their animals, but as much as the quality has gone up in 30 years, so has the average price. It's not uncommon to end up spending more than $5 at Starbucks for one drink, which would be unheard of in 1989, when the cost of a cup at the Russian Tea Room was $1.50.
11. Video game updates.
Ever sit down to play a video game and end up waiting forever for a system update to download and install? Back when Nintendo was one of our few options, the biggest delay in play was the time it takes to blow on a game cartridge and reinsert it.
12. Your cigarette running out of battery.
Look, I'm not endorsing smoking, but if you are a smoker, you have problems now that were definitely not a thing in 1989. People could smoke pretty much everywhere outside, in bars, in restaurants, even on planes.
And if you have switched to vaping, you still have problems nobody would have in the 1980s — like running out of batteries mid-smoke. I guess it's time to quit.
13. Dropped calls.
If you were on the phone with a friend 30 years ago and the call suddenly disconnected, the most logical conclusion was that an intruder had cut the phone line. Cell phone dead zones and random dropped calls weren't a thing! So one big downside to 2019 is, if an intruder did snatch the phone from your friend, hang up, and murder them in cold blood, you might just think they went through a tunnel and didn't call back. You wouldn't even know to notify the police! Scary thought.
14. Speaking of which, where is my phone?
Nobody in the 1980s or 1990s experienced the panic that sinks in for present-day folk when they suddenly realize they don't know where their phone is. Absurd! If you can't find your phone, just follow the cord! Or, if you're a fancy cordless phone household, you just page it from the base unit (and then chew out your sister for not putting it back).
Even if you did lose your home phone in 1989, it was way lower stakes, because it didn't also contain your identity, credit card information, every phone number you've ever called, every photo you've ever taken, and thousands of potentially incriminating private messages.