My husband is six years older than me. He is only 33. As we get older a mere six-year age difference seems less and less significant. Yet, he is still the first person to poke fun at me for being so interested in technology, social media and everything related to the Internet.
I don’t mind. In fact, I am somehow oddly flattered when he jokes that I have no less than 47 ways to access the Internet in my purse alone. While this is obviously an exaggeration, to be fair, it’s not that far off.
So it came as no surprise to me when my appreciation for technology became a source of bewilderment for a complete stranger one morning last week. I rarely leave the house without either my iPad or Kindle in tow. After all, you never know when you are going to be delayed in some way or otherwise end up with some time to kill. So when an employee of my gym announced that the yoga instructor was running late for class one day last week I didn’t hesitate to whip out my Kindle and jump back into my latest novel of choice.
My reading was soon interrupted by a gentleman who looked to be about 60 occupying the neighboring yoga mat in the lotus pose, “Is that one of those there electronic book thingies?”
I looked up, smiled and nodded, “Yes, but it is actually the older version of the Kindle. My husband got it for me for Christmas a few years ago.”
He smirked and shook his head while attempting to switch to a cobbler’s pose, “I just don’t get it. My nephews are into all of that stuff.” He continued stretching and waved his hand in the direction of a young woman who was also attempting to read a few mats over, “She’s reading one of those old-fashioned books. You know, the ones with paper and ink?” More smirking and head shaking followed.
“How do you even get a book on that thing? Do you plug it into a computer?”
Optimistically hoping to enlighten this gentleman on the efficient bliss an avid reader could enjoy with a Kindle I hopped up from my mat to demonstrate just how easy it is to purchase a book. Within 15 seconds he waved me away saying, “I don’t have my glasses. I can’t see anyway.”
I gave up, but still smiled and returned to my mat to continue reading while I waited for our instructor.
That didn’t happen. Every sentence I attempted to digest was punctuated by George Orwell’s quips:
“Let me ask you – have you ever even played a record?”
“Hmph. I’m retired now. My company got the email sometime before I retired. Now people always want my email address. I just don’t get it. Just call me!”
“Imagine if you could have one device that had all of your music, movies, a phone, and the Internet — all in one??”
Still discouraged from my failed attempt to gently introduce him to the simple and beautiful efficiency of the Kindle I decided I would not waste my efforts by sharing the “news” of smartphones and tablets.
Later in the day when I reflected on this bemusing exchange I felt:
- frustrated because he expressed curiosity about technology only to immediately wave it off as an unnecessary nuisance;
- amused because the exchange could have been a scene straight from the cutting room floor of an updated version of the movie Grumpy Old Men;
- and fearful of the day when I become so perplexed by—and resistant to—advances in technology that are created with the intent to make our lives easier and more enjoyable.
Then I came across this article in the technology section of The Wall Street Journal and I wasn’t so bothered. In fact, this article only strengthens my resolve to enjoy advances in technology as long as possible—no matter how difficult it is to let go and appreciate the ideas and inventions of the next generation.
— Sent from my iPad
(Yes, Grumpy Old Man – I wrote this blog post on my iPad and with a wireless keyboard. So what!)
p.s. I’m considering wearing sunglasses to yoga this week. Maybe he’ll think I’m from the future.