To say that I was born in the wrong century is an understatement. I know that I should have lived during the Victorian period where the most complicated thing in life was having your corset tight enough or making sure you got to tea on time.
Easy transitions from musical 8 tracks to cassettes, to a CD, were a snap for me. Harder, but bearable, were: the BETA to VHS then to DVD. Don’t ask me to program anything though–but putting the item in, playing it, and then removing it was painless.
Lo and behold the computer era began and I either ignored it or condemned it. Someone who couldn’t put gas in her car tank from 1974 to one ill fated snowy day in the 1990’s isn’t necessarily going to warm up to a computer. After all, the woman who invented the first computer program is often overlooked in history and also probably couldn’t hold the reins to the wagon. The daughter of renowned poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace actually discovered computer programming 178 years ago. That was long before we knew ‘a memory” was just something we lost a lot with age.
I used to volunteer at Caldwell Elementary school in the early 90s and one day Grade 3 teacher Mrs. Richardson assigned me to help in the computer library. The young students knew more than I did, and she couldn’t believe that I was petrified to go near the computers. This from a gal who loved to pause and marvel at the girls typing in the typewriter class beside the girl’s bathroom at Cowansville High School in the 60s.
One night I sat down at my son’s computer terminal and marvelled at the world before me. It suddenly became the bicycle of my mind. That was it, I was hooked, and a keyboard was no longer just related to the piano. The next time I had to volunteer I was “cutting and pasting” with the best of the 9 year-olds. Mrs. Richardson smiled and said,
“Linda, I see you are computer friendly now, I think I will give you a gold star”. That made me smile, as sometimes adults need gold stars too.
I thought that was going to be it in my lifetime trying to figure out new fangled things, but no, 7 years ago my sons gave me my iPhone on Mother’s Day. I treated the phone like the black sheep of any family. I tried to ignore it, but it would not let me, and I feel like I am never alone. Granted it was my choice to get rid of the landline and finally move into the 21st century like everyone else.
Texting was easy as I already had several weeks of repetitive training/cajoling on my iPad– but my brain no longer wants to attempt any mental feats of strength that were not needed. Instead of texting back, most times I answer the text on my laptop with an email. Friends told me I would get used to it and end up loving it. Was I secretly sabotaging myself? I didn’t set up voicemail for months because others told me they had an issue retrieving messages, so I used that as an excuse.
I watched my oldest son use both his thumbs to text as I have seen many times. I marvelled at the precision and speed he used and thought of my texts with misspelled words that even spell check could not pick up. I remember the 4 year-old-girl on the Apple commercials and how she whizzed through feats of technology without help. How I wish I could be smarter.
I have in my hands a fabulous piece of communication that I sometimes shun like the Amish. It attempts to entice me daily to use it like a prosthetic for the rest of my life. I refuse to let it become the bearer of my vital signs and continued activity in my brain. So how do I use my cellphone now? Unlike my laptop which has become a vital organ for writing and communicating on Facebook I use my phone in these percentages:
50% to check the internet
20% to text to my sons
15% to take photos
10% to check the time
5% to actually call someone
Without my cell phone now I feel I would never find my way in the dark or read, now that doctors have removed all their magazines in their offices. I would have no idea there are 76 tiles on my bathroom floor when I forget my phone.
But, is there a middle ground to all this?
Has cell phone and computer dependency resulted in compulsive communicating?
Are cell phones called cell phones because we are prisoners of our phones?
Is the best relationship I have now with my wi-fi because all my friends live inside it?
One good thing to remember, and there is some salvation to us mere mortals, computers and cell phones die twice as fast.