Before the Technology Parade Passes By

by Ellen Rothberg

I believe the technology movement has passed me by. I can pretty much interact with my iphone, and I understand that there is a cloud where my phone and personal electronic devices meet and compare notes about me, but there are some things that I know I will never master. For example, I will never get tweeting. #amidumborjustold. I don’t think anyone should expect me, at my age and stage in life, to acquire the skill set to put all my feelings, thoughts and compulsions into a tweet. #wowcholesterolunder190. Just trying to figure out how to grammatically use tweeting in my writing makes me break out in a sweat. Of course, my real take on the written computer language is that no one really uses correct grammar anymore anyway. #learnhowtospellstupid. As you can probably tell, I am just faking the whole social media phenomenon.

For me, learning to use new technology is like my 11th grade trigonometry class. I am a writer. As far as I am concerned, writing and math do not go together. We still have the written word, but trigonometry is apparently gone. So, there will always be the written word, but technology might just be a flash-in-the-pan. This convoluted thinking has worked for me in the past, so maybe I should just go with it now.

I have a job and one of the things that my job requires is that I be somewhat proficient with technology. That brings me to the second example of something I don’t get. Excel – how in the world is that spreadsheet program talking to the data in the online information system at my school? It’s amazing! Data goes in and out and appears miraculously in a spreadsheet! Well, it appears miraculously in a spreadsheet if you press the right button #Ineedhelp.

I am technology challenged, but I have many young people in my life who were born with the technogene and help me (while smirking behind my back, no doubt). They are pulling me, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. It reminds me of the late 1970s when I babysat for a fancy Dallas agency that provided bonded babysitters to elite families. While in charge of two rather precocious preschoolers, I was tasked with preparing a nourishing dinner in the form of SpaghettiOs. I located a small pot and proceeded to empty the can of pasta with the intention of warming it on the stove. The little 4-year-old said, “Aren’t you going to use the microwave?” I am not in the habit of smacking little kids, but . . . #techless?