Who’s the genius now?

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?

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Nobody cares…

I’m getting closer to my 50’s.  Yes, I refer to actual my age.  Many women prefer to lie about their age.  I am happy to be alive and well (health-wise) and LOVE telling people how old I am.  Why?  I don’t see why I should be shy or ashamed.  My real life eye wrinkles prove that I am a happy person because they are proof that I smile a lot.  The blue veins in my legs are a showcase of days when I gained waaaaay too much weight.  My whole body presents a story of my life.  To be honest, my absolute favourite parts of my body are: 1) my super-huge toothy smile and  2) my kaka-brown cow-eyes.  Why do I bring these items up?

Growing up in an environment of European descent was not easy.  There were many ways that you could be deemed unacceptable in regular society.  For example, I was diagnosed as near-sighted when I was 8 years old.  I remember going for the eye test and hoping that I wouldn’t “fail” the test because my parents would be disappointed. In the end, it was determined that I needed glasses.  I was actually ecstatic and elated and super pumped!  I even recall my eyeglass case…it was orange and there was the fuzzy head of a teddy bear on it.  I felt special.  That lasted for two days until I returned to school.  I was the only “four-eyes” in my class.  Yes…I could finally read everything on the chalkboard at the front of the room, but I was also a “loser”.  This eyeglass thing didn’t get any easier in other public domains.

My visual impairment made friendships awkward too.  My mother told me that I should not wear my glasses in public.  Why?  Wearing glasses at my young age meant I was somehow disabled.  Silly?  Absolutely, but at the time I believed my mother because she was my parent and she knew best.  At least that is what I was led to believe.

We would go to church every Sunday.  I would take my glasses off before entering.  Going up for communion was about following others so being visually impaired was no big deal.  The problem I encountered was when people thought I was ignoring them.   They would wave to me and I could really only see blobs of colours.  I appeared to be looking right at them, and yet, I myself could not actually see them.

For those who were forward, they would ask me why I ignored them and I’d make up some excuse (not mentioning the glasses).  For those who did not inquire, I became known as a very high and mighty, self-absorbed snob.  I found this out from friends after the fact.  Why do I bring this up?

It seems that our daily lives are always being judged.  Nowadays, they might even be recorded.  You never know when someone will be holding a “smart phone” ready to video or photograph whatever you are doing.  It seems that people are more concerned about recording the next “viral” video instead of thinking about how this could affect a person’s life.  In the end, I wonder…who cares?

No one really cares.  No one really cares about your life or what you are living.   No one really cares if you are happy, sad, disgruntled, ecstatic, etc.  That was generalizing, but in truth, if you are super happy, most people don’t want to share your happy news.  Why?  Most people are focusing on hardships and don’t want to hear about how good your life is.  “Misery loves company” and most would rather share woes.  Our society deals with sarcasm and belittling others to make themselves feel better.  Does this sound like a harsh judgement?  Perhaps, but oftentimes it seems that people would rather rally around those with problems than with those who are having a fantastically great life.

Perhaps I am just noticing this more often than I used to.  It could also be that I have decided to find what is good in my life instead of focusing on what I am missing.  This shift in vision took me a good two years to finally accomplish.  Why?  It’s not as easy as you think.  Here are some examples:

You wake up in the morning and the first thing you think is:  “Crap I have to get up and go to work.”  I would wake up, take a deep breath (which I can happily do) and literally tell myself to think of something positive.  So, I would say, “Wow!  I am so happy to wake up and breathe and enjoy another day of life!”  Corny?  When you start it, it does feel weird, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  How do you re-program your thinking to be positive instead of negative?  It’s a conscious effort of changing what you are thinking.

  • Awwwww, it’s raining again! – NEGATIVE
  • Yay!  The flowers will grow and bloom; my garden will grow! – POSITIVE

Challenge!  Write down your negative thoughts and then try to find the positive.

  • My car is a piece of junk…becomes…I am grateful to have a vehicle to drive.
  • I hate my job…becomes…I have a way to pay my bills and this is only a stepping stone to my new and better job.

You can do it!  You can find something good!  (If you get stuck…look at pictures of puppies and kittens, or any other baby animal.  You can’t be grumpy after that!)   While you are on this journey of discovery and appreciation don’t think about what others are saying about you or thinking about you because you know what?  Nobody cares!