Thursday, August 18


Darn this new-fangled
telephone machine!
I'm getting old. I don't like it, but it's the truth.  I'm not only exhibiting the physical signs like arthritic knees and gray hair, but I've started to slowly morph into a hybrid version of my parents.  It's especially noticeable when I catch myself thinking that new music sucks or yelling "slow down!" to some young whipper-snapper speeding through my neighborhood. However, it is when I realize that I'm stumped by some new element of technology that I get really nervous.

I can remember cleaning out my grandmother's house and finding what can only be described as an impressive amateur camera collection. You could literally trace the evolution of the mass-produced camera from the mid 1970s to the late 80s. She amassed this collection because every Christmas someone tried in vain to give her the most simple point and shoot on the market. Kodak instant cameras (multiple), a disc camera, and cameras that had to have flash cubes, lay there virtually untouched by time or Margaret. Photography wasn't her only challenge. I'm not even going to talk about when she finally got cable or the debacle that was call-waiting. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not immune to my own technology FAILs, but it's usually when I'm forced into the server room at my office to do something that is way over my head to begin with (I would like to apologize to Parks and Rec one more time for breaking their security camera system). When it comes to computers though I just tell people to reboot because 60% of the time it works all the time. 

I'm not saying that I've gotten to the point where my junk drawer is filled with the technology of yesteryear, but the other day I did have to Google "how to ignore a call on an iPhone." Some of the smarty features of my smarty phone are just too Big Brother for me. Stuff like how my phone knows my location at all times. How am I supposed to go off the grid and check facebook? It reminds me of this Sci-Fi book I once read about a guy who had a computer chip implanted in his wrist that let him do everything automatically. I hated the book, but I think about it a lot when Fandango sends me updates about movies playing down the street. The only thing that makes the book totally implausible was that the hero was always zipping and zooming around on roller blades. 'Nuff said.

If it's weird now, what's is it going to be like for Piper and Tanner? Will they just have to think about a website and it will pop up like some Minority Report-y hologram? Even now, Piper can navigate her way to a Barbie dress up game before I even have the chance to answer the question "can I get on the computer?" I will admit that Barbie is way better than time I accidentally introduced her to Bebe Lilly. I got to listen to a computer generated baby sing computer generated French Techo. You know you're in trouble when you find yourself mindlessly humming "Les Betises," and you don't even know what it means (I feel like I need to explain that the reason we were on YouTube in the first place was to listen to "Frere Jacques," and Bebe Lilly popped up and ruined my life for two months).

I was also amazed at her very small learning curve for my phone. Yeah, she just wants to play a coloring game, but she can unlock the phone, find the game and color herself a flower without any help from me. When I watch her I can't help but think about my first computer class, which consisted of typing florescent green code on a screen the size of TV.  Don't be impressed. I was in 6th grade and made a "D" in the class. Let me repeat that - a "D." In 6th grade. If you ask me, it's a miracle that I am on a computer right now.

But here's the kicker. Piper is four. Tanner on the other hand, is 16 months old. True he's not going to DeVry or anything, but he's clearly picking up some moves. I'm probably not helping the situation by resorting to the "hey, why not find a lullaby video on YouTube to mellow you out" method of parenting, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Anyway, that's what I was thinking the other night when I located a video of "Rock-a-bye and Goodnight" that played as an eye ball floated around a bunch of bubbles. He's apparently too young to get scared by an unblinking eye, because before I knew it he was trying to hold the phone.

In another great parenting move that I'm sure I'll live to regret, I handed him the phone to see what he'd do. At first he kept grabbing at the screen, but soon realized that it went black when he did that. After about four tries, he was holding the phone on the sides like a pro. He looked so adorable as he basked in the glow of bubbles and eyeballs, that I wanted to get a picture of him. Until I realized that he had my camera.