I am a smart woman. I have lived almost a half century and there is much wisdom stored in my grey matter. Truly, I am a competent adult. I function well in society with knowledge gained through schooling and book learning. I have experienced many things in everyday life that have led me to believe that I am a bright individual; resourceful even. So, why is it that when I try to figure out stuff on my iPhone my brain cells seem to pack up and go on permanent vacation. Why is this so hard?
I never liked computers, rather, I never understood computers and hence my dislike of them. Right from the good ol’ PET Computer and my inability to do any kind of sophisticated programming…or any kind of programming for that matter. Sure, I use a computer now. I am typing on one as we speak. However, there are many things I am sure it can do besides letting me click, click, click on its keyboard. I tell myself, “It’s a learning process.” I tell myself, “I can always Google it.” Oh yes, even dear Google can’t educate me on the basics on these newfangled programs. There were signs telling me that I was slowly losing my “hip” persona on the ways of the world. Old lady brain was just around the corner.
I realized my technological brain was fizzling when I couldn’t figure out the TV and cable remotes. So many buttons to try to turn on one screen. I had finally mastered that high-techiness (new dictionary word) when Wiseguy presented his fantastic new projection screen TV! Gulp. Was that another remote? No wait…two remotes? Did I see a third one? After installing everything, including surround sound speakers, my wonderful husband scurried off to work and jealously left me to play with our new toy. After managing to scare myself half to death (and deaf) with surround sound static from my “Poltergeist” TV screen, I hit every OFF button on every remote and proceeded to read a book. So much for my introduction to technology and being a modern woman.
Now, when it came to the most profound new technology of my generation, I would say the cell phone. Music lovers would probably say the Sony Walkman, but I was a bookworm so my vote was for the cell phone. I had pined for it, begged for it, and finally got it. This was actually not too complicated. It reminded me of my high school calculator. I remember using numbers to spell words. We were so cool (lame…in 80’s speak). I learned how to program phone numbers. I could now call people while I was away from home! Coolest device ever…until the phone’s battery died on me. Besides not having an active phone I also realized my inability to recall phone numbers. After that I made sure to memorize at least two numbers in case of emergencies. Smart right? Not as smart as the creative minds out there expounding their computer geniusness (new dictionary word) on the world.
Technology grew in leaps and bounds. Suddenly simple things became super complicated things. Most horrifically, the flip cell phones transmogrified into a … AHHHHHHH … A COMPUTER! The thing I could never understand! These TV-screen-typewriters that used to sit on a desk were now in people’s pockets! When the kids showed me what they could do I was stunned. Literally, dumbfounded. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe that this “phone” could take pictures and show videos and play music and provide instant information! No more need to store information in your brain. All you had to do was “Google” for the answer. (Yeah…first time I heard THAT word I needed a kid to ‘splain to me what a “Google” was). I was happy living in my flip phone world until that universe expired.
My phone battery died yet again so I went to get a new battery for my exquisitely ancient (7 year old) flip phone. To my horror I was informed that my phone was obsolete which meant its battery was also extinct. **funeral dirge** There were other antique (5 year old) phone styles I could pick from, but Death of a Battery was not something I wanted to relieve again and again. It was time to move into the future. I bought an iPhone 4.
The very first thing I did was open the box and survey the instructions. Then I promptly made sure all the kids would be home for a fancy dinner. After our fancy dinner I would have them program my phone, show me some of the basics, and ply them with educated questions. Three hours later I had numbers programmed and had learned how to turn my phone off and on. I had managed to take fantastic pictures…of my thumb. With the basics memorized, I followed up with my usual modus operandi…trial and error (mostly error). I have learned lots via this intense and elaborate technique. There is no real manual for using this computer…ahem… “smart” phone. I rely on overhearing conversations, or watching others do stuff and then follow up with the excited “how did you do that?”
I’m on the iPhone 6 now. I wait for the grandkids to show up for the fancy dinner. They show me stuff on YouTube and how to download stuff. Yeah…they’re smart. Technologically smart. They know how to use TV remotes too.
But just wait…my time is coming. One day they will come over for the perfunctory fancy dinner and I will show THEM something they have never seen before. I can write cursive. Hah! Who’s the genius now?