Caution: Old people using technology

I was trying to answer my father’s question about how my kids were doing but I was a bit kerfuffled. I was talking directly to his crotch.Senior couple with computer

Via Skype, of course. My father still had not gotten the hang of the “newfangled” camera perched atop my mother’s desktop monitor. So, every time I spoke to him, he stood up—thinking that because he could see my face on the monitor better that way, I could see him. I could. But only his crotch.

As I stifled giggles and my mother kept admonishing him to sit down, I realized I am fast becoming my parents. Just with different technology.

I don’t print out emails and send them via US mail to my friends, as my mother did (she never did quite understand how to find the “forward” button). But I do fumble a bit with my kids’ technology—and find the teacher has now become the student, oh so humbled.

Full disclosure: I have marketed many things in my lifetime, technology among them. And marketing a new technology on a global basis I can handle. I know the big picture.

But ask me to program something at home? Totally different skill set.

My son had to show me several times how to get the Xbox Kinect up and running properly. As I gesticulated wildly to get it to recognize me (embarrassingly, this has happened before), he sighed. “Mom, you’re doing it wrong. Let me show you again.” I think he’d told me that several hundred times before.

When I installed the latest version of ioS, he had to show me how to kill my apps so I wasn’t constantly running out of battery. That took several thousand attempts also.

He wants to show me all sorts of apps and synergies to make my online ventures speedier, more exciting, more efficient. I find myself telling him to slow down—one thing at a time.

I can only process so much at once.

And just in case he is thinking of not respecting that request, I have an ace in the hole. When he is at college and wants to introduce me to his girlfriend, we’ll probably Skype. I can sit down for that—or I can stand up.

I am my father’s daughter, after all.





10 Comments Add yours

  1. Fun post.

    My husband — at 57! — has just been moved into a position at his newspaper where he’s no longer editing for/on the print version but for mobile — i.e. phones. Shriek. He will be fine, but it’s a whole new world.

    I’m old enough to remember filing copy on deadline at the Globe and Mail (84 to 86) on a TRS-80 (trash 80s we called them), a primitive laptop whose screen barely revealed more than a paragraph at a time. Nightmarish. My laptop is a veritable Mercedes in comparison… 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      I can one up you for once:). I remember putting together a magazine using an Xacto and a wax machine, measuring pica after pica. Our computers were black screens with glowing green type. Ugh.

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    I so relate to this Kay. I was there at the dawn of the PC, the first spreadsheets and accounting programs, but it’s left me far behind now. I still hang on to my Nokia push-button phone for fear that I’ll never be able to get a smart phone to work – I actually tell people that I have no wish to be connected 24/7 and have better things to do.
    Still I never asked a secretary to email a file full of documents – that was a former boss who hadn’t quite grasped things either 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh my. That story is incredible!

  3. Interesting how quickly things move on. In one of my first jobs, I felt like a pioneer, using an early version of the Internet when it was just text on a black screen. Now, I struggle to use a smartphone so I don’t have one!

  4. markbialczak says:

    You still hold so many hole cards, Kay. But you’ll have to ask the son how to most quickly utilize the poker app to pull them out, won’t you? Great take on our generational technology, and I love the word kerfuffeled, too.

  5. Ah those good old days, I wonder what the equivalent will be for the next generation? A car you can drive? Glasses you put on and take off? Maybe just a world where privacy still exists. Or food still grows in fields.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m with you on the privacy and the food. It’ll take some of us old fogies reminding them of this when they’ve gotten themselves in a jam with online mayhem and GMO foods. We better stick around:).

  6. Anne says:

    I am a highly capable, productive worker nearing in the medical field nearing retirement. I have to utilize dozens of systems & passwords at work, but lord do not ask me to do basic computer skills. I really do not want to learn how to use the latest phone with a bazillion features I do not need or the latest tv technology or high tech computers. I am perfectly happy living with my “old” technology that was pretty new 20 yrs ago. I want paper to read & not an on-line paper or a book on a small screen. I take my newspaper to breakfast with me & my book in the tub where it is a pleasure to read. Give me the good old days.

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