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No denying my electronic ignorance

POSTED: January 7, 2009 4:00 a.m.

I should probably add to that title, “and other evidence of looming senility.”

  

If your newspaper carries the cartoon “Pluggers,” you will understand that I fit that category far too often.

  

During the Christmas holidays, that awareness was sharpened. Thus, I confess.

  

My extreme ignorance and admittedly being out-of-touch was brought into focus when I glanced through some of the “Letters to Santa” in our local papers. Even first graders were expecting all sorts of video games. I wouldn’t know what to do with a Wii; there is no iPod in my purse; my dear, I don’t even take advantage of surround-sound with my Bose radio.

  

My great nieces and nephews cold teach me much with Guitar Hero and other popular hands-on electronics. Frankly, I am too lazy to learn. They can’t believe that I really prefer to read. Occasionally, in my car, I do listen to audio books.

  

But, that automobile doesn’t have a GPS. That’s OK; I am not doing much driving in unknown territory these days.

  

Since I “overrode” the schedule for my programmed thermostat for heating/cooling when I was to be out of town for a week, I could not get it successfully reprogrammed.

  

Yes ma’am, I have the instruction manual and I have enlisted family help to walk through the “set-up” step by step, but I still had to re-set each morning and evening and press “Hold.”

  

When the holidays were over, my computer friend Chris came, went quickly through the step-by-step, and Presto, it was back on schedule. This is ridiculous.

  

More and more people use computers for many ordinary chores: online shopping, banking, bill pay, preparation for S.S. classes and other research, fun and games. But not this old lady, I’m still writing checks and reconciling bank statements with a calculator. Oh, I can receive and send e-mails, but cutting and pasting still means, to me using scissors and a glue stick.

  

Although I have and use a cell phone, text messaging is truly out of my realm.

I even have trouble retrieving voice mail. And all those new ones that can do almost anything with a slide of the thumb (even elementary students do it) might as well be from outer space as far as my abilities are concerned.

  

At least I don’t need to get a new “box” to shift to HD.

  

But, I’ll admit, that I can’t program my TV to record a program that I would hate to miss, and I have a really hard time setting up a DVD or even (now obsolete) a VCR. So, I miss a lot of movies, both old and new.

  

Sometimes I wonder whether I might outlive the ability to function effectively in the increasingly high-tech culture. I remember when one of my aunts vehemently resisted replacing her kitchen “cookstove,” which used wood, with an electric range. She was convinced only because it became impossible to buy wood to fuel her stove.

  

Of course, I also remember that I initially resisted installing a microwave oven — and my dear husband clung to his manual typewriter for a couple of years after I graduated to an IBM Selectric, which, by the way, I would still like to use occasionally if I cold find a repairman to work on it. But, perhaps, when my 6-year-old desktop computer (with still “unused icons”) dies, I will get a laptop and learn to store digital pictures, etc. Remember, however, this is a going-on-85 speaking!

  

The crowning example of ineptness, however, occurred during the holidays, when I helped my granddaughter, Jillian, and some friends with gingerbread house making. It was a fiasco — fun, but a fiasco, nevertheless.

  

And it was all because Grandma turned a tray upside down. Not even involving electronics.

  

Enough said. With all this truthful revelation, you could probably suggest what my new year’s resolutions should be.

  

Happy New Year anyway.

  

Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.

 

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