My 80-year-old mother can’t understand texting, or Facebook, and wants to know what googling means.
She said that she sometimes gets overwhelmed trying to understand it all. “I’m living in a different world.”
She is. And so are millions of other people. Things are changing so fast it’s hard to keep up.
“Why do kids need to text when they’re standing right next to each other? Why don’t they just use their phone to call? What’s an ‘App’? Why do so many people want to “friend” me? Why do my grandkids tell me that they have to ‘google’ it when I ask them a simple question?”
My mother has seen a lot of life. She remembers the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because, she said, she was walking home from the Paramount Theater downtown and was crossing Green Square when someone started yelling.
“They were yelling ‘Extra! Extra!’ like you see in the movies,” she said. “That’s what they did back then. All we had were newspapers and the radio to find out what was happening in the world. Sometimes it took days and even weeks. Now we know everything in a matter of minutes.”
She said their first TV was not very good but they were in awe of it.
“We thought it was the greatest thing in the world! But then I thought that about cable TV, too,” she said with a laugh. “Now I go to watch TV and there’s nothing on I want to watch!”
She admits that she is kind of leery of the computer. “I’m afraid I’m going to do something to make it crash,” she said. “I’m thinking about getting a laptop, though. But then I think, would I use it?”
My mother retired from Rockwell as an editor and said their computer took up an entire room. “We had to cut and paste our manuals, so we couldn’t make any mistakes,” she said, after I explained to her that we do all our layout for the newspaper on the computer now. “We’d get them done and see an error after they were printed. My boss didn’t like that,” she said with a chuckle.
“I had to input codes into the computer to get it to do anything,” she said. “One wrong code and it wouldn’t work.”
It’s almost too easy nowadays.
She said the only time she uses a computer now is to order things online and for e-mails.
“Does anyone use the postal service anymore?” she asked. And then added, “Probably why so many are closing their doors.”
It must be hard for her to watch so many things changing in the world. She uses a walker and has a difficult time getting around. She just sits at home with her dog and watches the world from her chair. She has a lot of visitors, who fill her in on other changes in the world.
She confides to me that she has a hard time understanding her grandchildren and sometimes I have to translate, but then she laughs about it.
“I remember when…” is usually followed by a quick story of simpler times.
I often wonder what the world will be like when I’m 80. More than likely, I will be asking pretty much the same questions, “What’s this?” and “When did everything change?”