'before the internet'

It was a heady time! 
You’d be in some kind of arts center, wearing roomy overalls, looking at a tray of precious gems, and you’d say, “That’s cat’s-eye,” and your friend would say, “Nope. That’s opal.” And you’d say, “That’s definitely cat’s-eye.” And there would be no way to look it up, no way to prove who was right, except if someone had a little booklet. 'Anyone got a little booklet?” you’d ask, looking around. “Is there a booklet on this shit?' 
Then you’d walk outside and squint at the sky, just you in your body, not tethered to any network, adrift by yourself in a world of strangers in the sunlight.

Emma Rathbone, 'Before the Internet.' The New Yorker, 6/26/2017.

(One my favorite pieces of writing in 2017. I love it so much, probably because in the days before the internet I did wear roomy overalls and stare at rocks in arts centers, and I was also friends with crows.)