I’m old. I’m the first to admit it. There are so many years between me and the kid who is happily operating the computer in the picture that it taxes my math skills to figure it out. This, of course, leads to the observation that my technology skills are about as useful as a shovel digging a hole in the water.
My humble excuse is that when I was born, computers were not an everyday item. I took classes in college, learning how to write cards for computer systems and then I walked across campus to feed them into the only computer in the school, which encompassed an entire room. There were so many people who would feed their cards into the computer and they would produce something wonderful. When I fed my cards into the computer, the computer made strange beeping noises and spit my cards out like they were so many pieces of burned meat.
My computer skills have never improved. As computers began to shrink, they took on more and more tasks. And each time, I was left further and further behind. By the time computers were controlled on keyboards and they fit on a desk, so many tasks had been taken over by computers, while I continued to write with paper and pencil and manage my checkbook with a calculator and even more significantly, I continued to talk on a telephone…attached to the wall.
I think it was when the computer switched to a cellphone that I realized I would never make it. I have just learned to type on a computer, maybe do some Facebook and even, check e-mail, and now technology is moving on leaving me in its gigawatted wake.
I have become that individual who knows just enough about technology to be dangerous. “Okay, I got my e-mail open, how do I check for new correspondence,” would be a typical question I have. “Click on the little envelope icon,” my child (who else would we consult) says with studied patience. “I hit the wrong thing, I hit the wrong thing. Now I’m in something called The Help Store. How do I get out of it?”
As if that weren’t enough, they have now moved all of those programs, or “apps” if I want to be up to date on terminology, to cell-phones. They have made these hand-held devises the new norm for most people. For me, I have trouble turning mine on and I usually pray no one calls me, because I don’t ever remember which way to swipe it to open it–is it right or left? Then, when I get in, I have to remember my password–no not the password for my e-mail or my Facebook that I can never remember, it’s the password for my phone that I definitely don’t remember!
Most people use their phones for everything: paying bills, reading the news, buying tickets. You name it and there is pretty much nothing that a phone can do today that I won’t be able to figure out. I ordered a plane ticket the other day and according to those cell-phone people I will be able to bring it up at the gate, show them my phone, and get on the plane. I figure there is a fifty-fifty chance I will be successful at that, so I’m either leaving for a four-day vacation, or I’m planning to sit in an airport lounge tomorrow morning and cry.
I know that my game of “continual get with the program” will not get me very far, but it has gotten me listed as the dinosaur of the technology community. And you know what? I think I’m okay with that, until the technological meteor strikes!