Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mash Here

When my ex emails the kids or me an attachment or webpage, typically something having to do with the Georgia Bulldogs or conservative politics, he writes "mash here" just above the link. Based on that, it's pretty obvious he has the gist of how computers work but not the nuance. Of course, nuance has never been his strong suit.

Technology wasn't a childhood requirement for my generation, unless you count the record player, the transistor radio, or the hula hoop. We did have a television when I was a little girl; a black and white behemoth, all guts and no screen to speak of. There were two TV stations in my home town of Savannah, Georgia: Channels 3 and 11, with the Star Spangled Banner signaling the end of everything at 11:30 PM.

I remember the night before my wedding, sleeping with my hair wrapped around gigantic rollers in one of those old bonnet hair dryers, hoping I wouldn't suffocate or electrocute myself on my hot air pillow. From that point on, the gadgets for making my life easier seemed to appear exponentially in quick succession: the microwave, the blow drier, the curling iron, the straightening iron, the portable phone, the bag phone, the boom box, the salad shooter, the Snoopy Snow Cone Machine, the Clapper, and lastly but not leastly, the Veg-o-Matic and the Flobee.

I also recall the short but important role the CB radio played in most everyone's driving life: "Breaker, breaker, Good Buddy, is that a Smokey the Bear up ahead?" How archaic that seems now, but, at the time, we were enthralled with the feeling of community we shared with those eighteen wheelers. I bet the trucking industry was pretty happy when that fad met its inevitable demise.

Little did we know what was just around that Silicon Valley corner. The microcomputer, as it was originally called, arrived, for me, via the Apple IIe, the first computer purchased for our local schools. I do have to say that 90% of everything I understand about technology came from a kid, either my own or one I taught.

I now understand that the Apple IIe was just the beginning of the seismic shift that would change everything. I remember my Uncle Walter regaling us at a family gathering with his opinion that computers would never last. Of course they did, while he, sadly, did not.

Now we have Blackberries and cell phones and IPhones and Wiis and apps and gmail (yahoo is no longer cool, I hear). We have twitter and tweets and texting and sexting and Facebook and Linkedin and Plaxo. I don't even know what half of that stuff is, except for the sexting part, which I figured out.

I am, however, better off than some of my cronies. The ex I mentioned above admonishes anyone who touches his computer "not to lose his Google." My friend, Allison, can handle most of the intricacies of her cell phone. She just can't ever find it. Her daughter tells a great story about Allison asking her to call her so the ringing could help her locate her phone. As soon as the number was dialed, Allison's bra started burbling a merry tune. Apparently housing your cell phone in your bra isn't all that helpful if you can't remember, or even worse, tell it's there.

Bottom line, I can feel myself beginning to lose touch with the newer innovations. Like lots of people, I just don't get twitter and why anyone would want to send or receive a tweet. The same could probably be said for why anyone would want to write or read this blog. As for Wii, I lost all respect for that thingamajig when I saw friends hurling themselves through their living room pretending to bowl.

I would say that Wii won't last but I don't want to end up like Uncle Walter.


Anonymous said...

Love this!! Your ex loosing his Google reminds me of when teachers would stop me in the hall and tell me the internet was down. I would always respond in my sensitive voice, "The whole internet?"

I am so glad you are doing this. Please keep it up. You need to post the story of when we were at Susan's by the lake that day.....

marciamayo said...

The sad part of the story by Susan's lake was that we thought we were old then and it had to have been almost 20 years ago. I love the whole internet story.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marcia,

We have really been enjoying your entertaining and enlightening blog concerning aging gracelessly. You are a teacher first and an author wannabe! Congratulations on a great start. We look forward to more postings.
Your cousins, Frank and Charlotte

Allen Appel said...

I was once an illustrator for the Washington Post. I recently went through a box of illustrations I had done for them and was amused to find several of the variety that would fit into categories like those above. One began, "Well, it looks like the video cassette recorder (VCR) is here to stay." And another was about small home computers that hobbyists were building for thousands of dollars from parts ordered from electronics providers. This article asked the question, "Will someday the average individual seek out and buy these small machines for six or seven hundred dollars, machines that could be carried home and simply plugged into the wall?"
And this to has come to pass.

marciamayo said...

yes, we are just that old.

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