Another Day in the Country

Playing games with life

© Another Day in the Country

Being slow to grab onto the latest technological gadget has always been my M.O. I’ve never been the one just champing at the bit to try out something new. I’m the skeptical one who wrinkles her brow and frowns at the miraculous stories, the wondrous inventions.

So, immediately you know that I don’t own a smart phone. I barely have a cell phone. And I definitely love my landline. In California, my name is still in the local telephone book with the same number I’ve had for 45 years.

My son-in-law says, “We should disconnect that line. It’s obsolete and just costing money every month.”

But my daughter and I vote to keep it, if nothing else but for sentimental reasons.

Maybe male genetics are more geared to new wonders, the latest thing, and technology in general. My husband used to study “Car and Driver” magazine like some folk study scripture. He knew the latest wonders Toyota was about to perform and couldn’t wait to own a Volvo.

I, on the other hand, become attached to the car we have, treating it like a family member with familiar quirks.

I remember when we got our first Apple computer. It was a little square wonder with a keyboard attached. Everyone was excited but me. I was wishing we’d gotten a new IBM typewriter instead.

“Is this really the next great thing?” I mumbled.

It was.

Every time my daughter comes to visit, I say to myself, “This time you are going to bite the bullet and get one of those new-fangled phones while she is here so she can explain it to you.”

We have big discussions about all the things a smart phone can do for me, and I sit counting the cost — the extra cost, by the way, that most people probably take for granted with “unlimited texting” and the extra “giblets” so that you are never low on the capability to “access” things instantly.

My head just whirls thinking about it all. I can get emails anywhere. I will be accessible to anyone I know in the checkout line at the grocery or in the public toilet. With the press of a button, I can have a mysterious voice direct me through traffic to any location.

Press another button and I can take pictures or even videos. I can send these pictures with messages through the airwaves all over the world if I so chose. If I’m bored, I can play games on this little piece of equipment.

It cannot only tell me where to go and how to get there; it can remind me as to when I need to be there.

If I hear a song on the radio, I can point the phone at the radio to listen, and it will not only tell me the name of the song and the artist singing the song; it can buy the song for me and store it for future reference and instant access.

This little piece of technology can track my whereabouts and tell anyone who wants to know where I am.

Whoa! Hold the phone! 

You’ve probably heard me fussing before about the frustration of going out to eat with people who are constantly fiddling with their phones instead of conversing with the real live folk at the table. I finally figured out that Me — the person without a phone in my pocket — was not only being left out but also left behind. I have a big decision to make. Do I want to be techno-savvy or not?

My little grandson, whose parents don’t even have a TV set in the house, is still familiar with technology. He loves playing computer games and tried to teach me how to play Mindcraft, explaining all the ins and outs as his fingers flew over the buttons on his iPod. He loves creating unique worlds with houses and gardens.

“Look at this ginormous tree I’m making, Baba,” he crows. “I’m going to make a house inside. Isn’t that something?” 

It’s something, all right, and if I want to have conversations with this child, I have to get with the program or in another year or two, we won’t have anything to talk about.

His father laughs at my concern and tells us about a game he’s playing with a virtual world of fancy houses, exciting adventures, and everything right down to fantastic vehicles to drive and an amazing wardrobe.

“I think I’d like to be married to the guy in the game,” my daughter says ruefully as she washes the real dishes and picks up real underwear off the floor.

On any day in the country, technology is knocking at my door.

“Hello? May I help you?”

Hmm. I wonder.

 

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