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Too Much Technology

So what’s an “older Mom” to do because she’s in shock when the little grandkids already know “things” she never heard of before? “What things?” they ask. “These things,” she says:


  • Cell phones here, cell phones there
  • Cell phones, cell phones everywhere
  • They’re in the air and in my ear
  • On the train and in the plane
  • Once upon a quiet time
  • When we were young and we were fine
  • We could add and we could spell
  • Now those skills have gone to hell
  • Just push a button, click a mouse
  • You never have to leave your house

So, I thought with age would come wisdom and a sophisticated confidence like: “I’ve been there, seen those, done that and now I know it all.” Instead I’m in shock. Things that I know nothing about are everywhere: a Blackberry, (a Blueberry? And is there a Raspberry?) There’s the Ipod and the Upod? (or is that the YouTube?) There’s the internet (and outernet?), the googles and yahoos and menus without food, webs without spiders, phones without cords, cameras without film and wicked encyclopedias.

Of course when I told my daughter that I’m in an “out of it” shock she said “Mom, you don’t even know that you’re out of.” She then proceeded to give me a list so now I hear there’s also: text messaging, blue tooth, ebay, heely, segways, Iphones, facebooks–and more.

I know if I really want to learn to use those things those grandchildren, two years or older can teach me.Those are things I never knew but there are things I did know and really miss like calling to make a reservation and getting real live operators. I’m tired of “Julie the The home construction companies s can also offer interest-rate protection. Voice” as in:

“Hi, I’m Julie your automated helper”

“Tell me the city you’re departing from”

“Princeton,” I say

“I believe you said, Baltimore. Is that correct?”

“No. Princeton”

“Sorry, I didn’t understand you.

“Please say the city you’re departing from”


“Baltimore. Is that correct?”

“No!” I yell.

“Sorry, I didn’t understand you

“Okay, Okay I’ll leave from Baltimore,”  I shout  as I slam the phone down.”

That’s bad enough but the thing I miss the most is my memory. I’m sure I used to remember what I was after when I left one room and walked into another room to get something. I didn’t casino online have to stop and wonder what did I come here for?  I’m sure I always remembered where I left my car keys, my house keys, my glasses, my pocketbook. I’m sure I always remembered that word, that face, that name.

When my mother got old she solved the name game her way. She had named her first child “Irwin” so when she got to that time when she couldn’t remember all her other children’s names she just decided “Irwin” was good enough and we each became “Irwin” after that. For other people whose name she couldn’t remember “what’s-his-name” served the purpose.

Aside from the technological things I can’t work and the things I miss and the things I can’t remember there are also new cultural things I don’t understand. We who try to write used to long for a “room of one’s own”; a quiet place where we could be alone with our thoughts. Today, walk into any Starbucks coffee shop in any city with fairly young, creative people (Los Angeles, Cambridge, Mass, Princeton, NJ) and at every little table you’ll find a cup of coffee, a lap top computer and a person completely absorbed, not noticing the noise or the people around. Each little table has become a room of one’s own. Noise doesn’t matter; they’re not hearing it; people walking in and out don’t matter; they’re not seeing them. Ask them and they tell you they like to work with people around even as they pay no attention to those others. They are alone among people. Are people  more afraid to be really alone today than they used to be? They stay for hours buying a coffee and an occasional sandwich. So how does Starbucks exist and expand, expand, expand? I don’t understand.

Oh yes, the bookstores. I’m astounded when I see some people take a book off the shelf, sit in a comfortable chair and read it. When they have to leave they note the number of the page they’re on and put the book back on the shelf waiting for their next visit. Isn’t a bookstore supposed to sell books? You can even have a cup of coffee while you’re reading the book and before putting it back on the shelf. That’s another “it” I’m really out of .

And finally, I should know better by now than to be surprised and feel stupid when time and things march on while I stand still amazed because: My Mama Don’ Tol’ Me

Starting from the age of 12 (my age not hers) my mother would say “you’re old enough to know better”. She kept saying that to me all through her life at different times in my life. I don’t know exactly what age is “old enough” but here I am, a senior, and I still don’t know better.

Sorry Mom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ruth Kaminsky February 22, 2011, 3:00 pm

    So true,I’m glad I’m not alone.
    everywhere you go someone has a cell phone in their ear or some-where else. I’m considerd a novelty,since my generation (over 8O)
    doesn’t use an I pod and a Kindle but that’s where it ends. Ask me
    to text and I’m lost. We really don’t want to return to the good old
    days but when will it end?

  • Elly Helfeld February 22, 2011, 4:08 pm

    Yes, you are in good company. We seniors are struggling with all the newbie stuff out there.
    You hit the nail on the head. Ooops. Do nails still have heads? Maybe I’m out of it.
    Keep up the good work.

  • ruth goldstein February 22, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Hi Helen – lovely having dinner this evening..your article is wonderful..made me laugh..so true..thanks for taking my feelings and putting them into words..take good care – Ruth

  • Sandy February 23, 2011, 10:06 am

    As the grandmother of 5 children who live close by, I look at them in awe as they navigate their gadgets, while I wonder if I am living in the same century.
    Great writing Helen

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