Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Story of a Challenged Senior Citizen

I thought about the 30 year business I ran with 1,800 employees, all without a Blackberry that played music, took videos, pictures and communicated with Face book and Twitter.

I signed up under duress for Twitter and Face book, so my seven kids, their spouses, 13 grand kids and 2 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way.. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

That was before one of my grand kids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world.

My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue tooth [Blue tooth but it's red] phone I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife as everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. Seems I have to take my hearing aid out to use it and I got a little loud.

I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, "Re-cal-cu-lating." You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then when I would make a right turn instead, it was not good.

When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me (after 50+ years I certainly hope so).

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still haven't figured out how I can lose three phones all at once and have to run around digging under chair cushions and checking bathrooms and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings. It was a lot easier when it was connected to a cord (for the kids out there reading this, yes, there used to be a cord attached to the phone - and we only had one phone in the house! I won't even go into "party lines" but older folks know what I'm talking about).

The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden "Paper or Plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused but I never remember to take them in with me. Now, I toss it back to them. When they ask me, "Paper or Plastic?" I just say, "Doesn't matter to me. I am bi-sacksual."

Then it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look.

Note from Jo: I received the above story in my e-mail and as I read it I found myself thinking, "WOW that sounds familiar!"

I had seen a lot on line about Face Book and Twitter and never had the first desire to sign up for either of them. Then one day I get an e-mail from Chris telling me that I need to sign up for Face Book to make communication with my family a lot easier. What is easier than picking up the phone and dialing a number? Especially when you already know how to use the phone. I have to admit that through Face Book I have been able to connect with a lot of people from my past that I had long ago lost touch with...... I am thankful for that.

My daughter signed up on Face Book and was playing all sorts of games. I thought I would try a few of them, but as I read the instructions to one particular game I ended up just sitting here looking at the monitor in total confusion. I did not have a clue. I found one game that I understand which I play most of the time, but that is it.

When it comes to cell phones that is a whole other bag of worms. When our contract ran out last spring we went to the phone store and renewed it and picked out a couple of new phones to go along with the new 2 year contract. I thought it would be so much easier to get one of the Palm Centro phones, that way we could do the whole calendar schedule thing and not only be organized, but up to date and organized. Forget that, when it came to synchronizing everything, I was wandering around totally without a clue. Not only did my schedules of important dates and occasions never make it to the cell phone, but just trying to retrieve voice messages and make phone calls took us months of studying the instruction book and we still aren't using those phones to their full potential.

I thought it was really funny that the Grandpa in the story above had named his GPS too. Ours goes by Maggie and you may not believe this, but Maggie has a real attitude problem. Every time we go south she insists on sending us through Cincinnati. I really prefer not to go through or even around most big cities. We usually go ahead and program the old girl and go south into Kentucky and wind our way over to I-65. When we travel there is usually no hurry to get where we are going because JD is retired and we don't have to be in a rush. Every few seconds she is telling us to make a right at the next road or make a u-turn and on and on. I noticed when we went to Cincinnati for Britt's All State Choir performance resently when we weren't following Maggie's instructions to the letter she was rolling her eyes and being sarcastic.

I remember a time in the not too distant past when any time there was anything electronic that need to be done I was volunteered to do it. Anything from hooking up a VCR or Sega Game to the TV or programming the answering machine and connecting it to the phone. One of the biggest difference between then and now can be seen in the instructions. Then, there was maybe one or two pages with pictures that actually resembled th back of the TV. Now, the instructions come in the form of a book with many pages and very small print. When I get the nerve to look at the back of a TV now, I can not get over the number of little do dads that are back there just waiting for you to hook up at least 15 different items to work with your TV.

It is safe to say that my day of being mistaken as a technical whiz kid is a thing of my past. If any of our children decides they want to buy us something electronic to make life easier for us, they need to be prepared to come out and hook it up for us.


PEA said...

What a great post!! Technology can be great at times but at other times, not so much! lol My mom is terrified of her answering machine and I even had to record the message for her!!! I have a cell phone but it's the simplest one, doesn't even take pictures. I just don't need all the bells and whistles. What I find sad about the blackberrys and such, I see kids sitting at tables and they're all texting on their phones instead of talking to each other!

I've tried Twitter and find it a waste a time, I'm really not interested on who's cooking rice or washing the dishes! lol I love Facebook but even then, I don't spend that much time on it. The only games I enjoy on there are Farmville, Petville and Farmtown. I don't have time to play any of the others, I swear one could spend 24 hours a day playing!

Cool, I'm not the only one who has named her GPS...mine is Martha! lol I swear that sometimes she's ready to tell me "well if you won't listen to me, get lost then!!" hehe xoxo

Peggy said...

I have to admit that post hit home with me too. It took me forever to figure out how to use a computer. I do use facebook now but not often. I love the blogging neighborhood though. I use a prepaid cellphone and don't travel much so don't have a GPS. Daughter needs one though. LOL

Prixie said...

Jo you've been awarded. see my blog :)

Anonymous said...

Heh! That's your problem with the facebook games ... you tried to read the directions! They're so much more fun if you just wing it and do whatever you feel like doing. haha. I refuse to use GPS. I've been all over the state and even to Washington DC and back without it. Things get a little interesting at times. But unlike you, I love the big cities because all roads lead to the big cities and will eventually hook up with another road that I know will get me to where I want to be. ;-)

I love you!! Signed, your anonymous daughter.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Jo!

All I can say is "Amen sister!" I retired from communications and have no idea how to work some of these things. And yes, I remember 2-party lines in my early days at the phone company and my first job there was at a wooden cord board as a long distance operator! That seems so ancient now. We've seen some rapid changes haven't we?

Loved this post Jo!!

PS We've had so much snow up here in Cols! Do you need any? I can ship you some!

Lanny said...

I just figured out who this "Jo Riley Dupree" reqesting to be my "friend" was. I'm a bit slow. I try as heck to be current on techno stuff (mostly I can't afford moneywise to stay as current as my inner geek would like to) and I can certainly see "how" these things could be beneficial but I'm just not sure if theory is going to smack up against practice anytime soon!