I have officially arrived in the current century according to my compatriots at work. I now own an Android Phone and a new laptop with Windows 7 installed.
Of course, I had no idea what an Android phone actually was until yesterday, and I was perfectly content with Windows Vista.
The new phone, coupled with the laptop, are gigantic steps forward for me. I tend to live more by the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” world motto than the “if it’s new technology, I must have it” one. But, I’m learning how to use a “touch screen” to scroll through my “Apps” without needing assistance.
I thought the previous laptop (about 5 years old) with wireless that moved at the speed of turtle was just fine forever. And, it was until I started adding up the wasted hours and realized how long everything took on it versus my three year old desktop.
Still, having two computers that worked fine, even if one was very slow, led to an inner debate and argument on wastefulness (I’m pretty sure this is a leftover lesson from my well-meaning grandmother!).
So, months after starting an inner argument with myself, I finally gave in and bought a new laptop. Logically, since time is the one thing I never have enough of, and the old laptop was taking up way too much of this precious commodity, it made sense to buy a new one.
The phone was different, less a thought-out decision and more a flighty comment that led to my having a phone gifted to me the next day. It was strange turning off the phone I’ve had for the past 4 years – a simple flip-top, dial the number kind of phone, with real buttons for the numbers and alphabet, and an alarm I’ve used as my alarm-clock substitute for the same number of years.
Okay, I know it was antiquated by today’s standards, but I knew how to use it and it served it’s purpose. The new phone is a little more of a challenge – it took me forever to figure out if it had an alarm and how to set it, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it and am becoming modern.
Last night, as I was playing with the new phone, I started thinking about my childhood and my grandparents. They would be over 100 years old if they were still living.
I remember watching TV with them at night: Walter Cronkite detailing the news, Kojak, The Waltons, and Disney movies on the weekend were the norm.
We lived with a phone (party line only for years. Anyone else remember that?) and one television set with three channels. Cable TV wouldn’t be available in that rural area until years later when I was a married adult living far away.
I remember those quiet nights, sitting on the screened-porch, listening to the Whippoorwill calls, and everyone talking together. I remember spending as much time outside playing, making-up imaginary games and acting-out storybook scenarios with my cousins, as I ever spent inside. And, I remember a time when TV was a very small part of my day.
I miss that quiet, less-connected, less-complicated world sometimes. I can’t imagine what my grandparents would think of my new phone or the multiple computers, but I’m sure they would be amazed and lost in the world as it’s become. I’m also sure they’d say it was wasteful and I didn’t need all those things!
Sometimes, I feel a little lost as well as I wonder what my grandchildren will see in their lifetimes. Will it be the vast array of changes and technological advancements that I’ve witnessed? Or, will science and technology change directions and go spiraling off in a now unknown direction? What will it mean as they grow older in world where everything is immediate? What will it mean when their compatriots congratulate them on becoming modern?