For the last 20 years or so, I have been aware that technology may be leaving my ability to grasp its full meaning behind. However, with each passing day, I see technology and all its wonderful bells and whistles growing smaller and smaller in my windshield.
There was a time when people I worked with came to me for instruction on how the latest gadget worked. I had either worked with it, read about it, or one of our engineers had schooled me on it. But now I only hear crickets chirping in the now vacant halls of my mind under the heading of technology.
I see my children and my grandchildren with their noses pressed firmly onto their phones, or X-boxes, and I see the lightning quick actions of their little fingers punching in commands that make garage doors go up, down and sideways, lights flash on and off, and drones bring them snacks (just made that one up). I sit in amazement just watching the quiet chaos. Sure, I could ask what they are doing, how it works and why they are doing it, but they would only think I was challenging their right to use it, or even worse, I don’t know enough to ask intelligent questions.
Recently, my wife and I entered a local telephone store as we decided it was past time for me to give up my beloved flip phone and enter whatever century this is (see how confused I am?) and get an iPhone, or an Android phoneor a Gazebo phone, or whatever they are. I knew I was in big trouble when I announced to the friendly customer service rep that I needed to upgrade and then whipped out my current phone. With no display of shame whatsoever, she laughed hysterically. For a split second, I almost became offended, then I remembered the same response from nearly everyone when I draw that phone from its trusty, wornout, fraying leather holster on my belt to make a phone call or read a text.
Thank God my wife was with me, because it only when downhill from there. The amused rep began asking me questions for which my only response was coughing, gagging and turning blue. Patty picked up my embarrassed pieces and with amazing accuracy guided all of us through the uncharted waters in the dark seas of my telephonic requirements (Wow, that was almost pretty. OK, not really). My phone will be here soon, and then someone will have to travel with me just so I can answer the phone when it rings, read a text if it comes, and then respond if a response is required. I think I can plug the charger in at night all by myself though. Yes, I am a big boy now.
I find that I am not completely alone though. Just the other day I was at a local building supply store and I saw a couple of contractors with their flip phones. I approached, pulled out my phone and commented, “I see you’re a part of the club!” Both looked at me and in unison they replied, “You found one, too! What is it? We can’t figure it out!” then I noticed some monster phone-like object strapped to their utility belt and secured to their leg just like a six-shooter from the days of the Wild West.
I shouldn’t be surprised though. When I received my first VHS video machine, my 7-year-old daughter and my 2-year-old son had to program it for me. When I had my security system installed in my home, after 12 hours of intense instruction and support from the electronics team, we just moved one of their junior team members into our finished basement to operate it for me (what the heck, he was 19, and his parents were trying to get him to move out and get an apartment anyway. Plus, he really didn’t eat that much).
Now, I have entered an age when I need technology to be my friend. I need it to operate my business remotely when I am out of town. I need it to notify me in the middle of the night when there is a power drop and we are suddenly off the air. I need technology to work for me now like it has never worked before. I need to be one with technology, and technology to be one with me.
I am in big trouble.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at HEKAMedia@yahoo.com and follow his work at www.HerbDayVoices.com.