A dear friend of mine, Jeannie, owns a smart phone and fully admits that, as much as she loves it, she doesn’t always understand it. (BTW, Jeannie is the author of the saying, ‘smart phone, dumb operator.’) There are so many things you can do with a Smart Phone that generally people our age just roll up our eyes and walk away from it to our trusty land line.
Just yesterday at work, our long-suffering IT guy set up my work laptop so that I can now take it home to work from it remotely when I don’t drive in. I’m a part-timer, so that works out fine. However, as he was explaining what he was doing, he spoke about logging in with my Smart Phone. I said something vastly intelligent like, ‘slow your roll there, Sparky–I don’t own a Smart Phone. I have a flip phone that is just a phone.’
Like any self-respecting IT person, he gave me one of those looks that said, ‘oh great–another techno simp. I’m gonna have to speak slowly.’ No disrespect to him, it’s just that, if it isn’t something I need to know to do my job (writing technical manuals), I just hear ‘…blah, blah, blah, laptop, blah, blah, remote in by typing in blah, blah, blah…’ It just flat doesn’t register in my nearly 64-year old brain.
I have seen my 4-year old granddaughter deftly pull up games and interactive videos on her mom’s Smart Phone, and it makes me feel like the last dodo bird.
For my upcoming surgery next week, I filled out a tremendous online clinical history which took me nearly an hour. At the very end, it stated that, following their receipt of my information, they would “text” me. Well, good luck with that, because 1) I don’t text or get texts, and 2) my flip phone screen is so small that even wearing my reading glasses I can barely make out any messages. So if I get texts or messages I never know what’s in them because I just delete them all without reading them. Yup, I am the dodo bird.
Here’s the thing about technology for me; I learn new things step by step. If I get confused or disoriented, I will stand on that damn step forever until I figure out where to go. Also, many of the network terms still baffle me.
A word here about being a technical writer in a busy company filled with brilliant people: bless their hearts, they really think that I can understand them at their level. Seriously–I am at about their shoe level. When they start telling me about <insert extremely technical jargon here>, my eyes (and apparently, my ears) glaze over. If they try explaining to me how a frabulator filled with positive ions acts in a sterile environment, I will say something intelligent like, ‘oh, you mean those little floating thingys inside the frabulator?’
You know what? I’m going to hire my granddaughter to help me out with technology from now on. She’s smart, she’s savvy, she knows all the terms, and best of all, I know she’ll work for peanuts. Or those little frosted animal crackers. Or blueberries.