“My grandmother has trouble with her phone too,” the sales representative said. “My advice is to call your cell number once a month to avoid letting it fall into sleep mode.”
Who knew? My cell phone goes catatonic if I don’t talk to it enough. Needless to say, my transition to a required 4g upgrade hasn’t gone smoothly. I’ve yet to figure out how to receive and delete messages. The information, I’m told, is somewhere on the internet, but I don’t have the time to look for it or plow through a web manual to find the right section. I need a grandchild to show me how to delete.
In 1802, during the first Industrial Revolution, William Wordsworth wrote a sonnet entitled, The World is Too Much With Us. You can say that again, Bill! After brushing my teeth each day, I spend the initial morning hours discovering what changes technology has wrought overnight. Controlling my several social media pages is like driving wild horses into a barn.
I was born before television, so the young will have to take my word for it: life was simpler in the good old days. Note, I didn’t say it was more convenient. Nonetheless, living a primitive life was less nerve-wracking. Consider. If the wheel hadn’t been invented, we wouldn’t be hunkering down in fear of a nuclear war.
I admit algorithms provide some benefits. With them, I’ve been growing my vocabulary. Yesterday, I stumbled across the word “incunabulum.” Growing up, if the definition for a word didn’t appear in my pocket dictionary, I’d call a reference librarian. Today, I google it and discover both the meaning and pronunciation in a flash.
Now that technology teaches itself, knowledge grows exponentially. The human brain, clever as it is, has limits. To keep up, humans have to compartmentalize mountains of data. We need specialists for almost everything. When I was a kid, I went to the family doctor for earaches and broken bones. Today, I’d visit an otolaryngologist for ear problems. Broken bones require two specialists, a radiologist, and an orthopedist.
To soothsayers who puzzle the future of our divided county, I say look first at technology. Note the divide between youth and age. I don’t blame technology for youngsters with purple hair, or tattoos that make them look like pages from a comic book. Each new generation wants to distinguish itself from the past, and I’m glad they do. Otherwise, women might still be trusted up in corsets.
Nevertheless, unlike the young, I have no need for speed and instant gratification. Fast cars, planes, trains, or warp drive on the internet mean nothing to a woman who likes to sit in a comfy chair to read. If I had my druthers, I’d like to see life slow down.
The homage advertisers pay to the young because of their spendable income is a misleading social marker. Those unlined faces we see on Instagram don’t represent the dominant demographic. Most adults can’t be convinced that a new pair of pants with rips and tears are either stylish or functional.
The United States is an aging population. No matter what the young think, grey hair isn’t the consequence of having been careless. Age happens. That fact probably came as a surprise to hot shots like Mark Zuckerberg, (38), Elan Musk (51), Jeff Bezos (58), and Bill Gates (66).
Like it or not, those former hipsters have reached seniority. Now that they have, they should turn their talents to creating computers and smart phones someone my age can understand. Surely they’ve grown wised enough to know that staying in touch with the world is a concern to old and young alike.