Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

Re-rants from the Chair: Bumbling and Befuddled in Tech Land

[Author’s Note:  Writing a weekly blog can be exhausting.  At least, it is for me.  My daughter Farrah dashes off wonderful, first-draft blogs from her iPhone for God’s sake, while I re-write, re-edit and agonize over a one or two page essay, using a full-size, ergonomically correct keyboard.  You’d think it was the new Declaration of Independence, the way I can obsess over what I’m writing sometimes.

So I’m taking this week off, and instead will re-post an old essay.  I am doing this at the request of Farrah, who feels this piece (originally posted last April) deserves a re-look because every time I go to her house and confront the “Wall of Media” and it’s accompanying remote devices, I still have a total meltdown.]

* * * * *

I’m not completely brain-dead when it comes to using a computer.  It was twenty-five years ago that the thing became a fixture in my various workplaces, so I had to be pretty savvy to stay employed.

But then, with the speed of a Concorde SST, came a deluge of various new technological and digital innovations, one right after the other. 

And this is where my daughter comes in.  Farrah hounded me relentlessly to keep up with the times.

“Mom, you really have to start texting.  It’s so much more efficient!”

“What, talking is now considered in ineffective way to communicate?”

I resisted for a really long time.  And then when I discovered I could get immediate responses when texting, I was sold.

“You need an iPod, Mom,” Farrah said to me some years ago.

“No I do not.  I’ve got my CDs and a CD player.” 

“Oh my God, Mom.  That’s just so yesterday!”

So she bought me a 2G Nano and helped me set up an account with iTunes.  A new world opened up for me.  To be able to buy a single cut from an album with the click of a mouse and 99 cents?  Who knew I would become an instantaneous addict? 

Same thing with the DVR.  “You will not believe how absolutely emancipating the device is,” said Farrah.  “It will change your life!”

“NO!” I vigorously protested.  “I’ll watch too much television!”

She beat me down and I called the cable company.  She was right.  My DVR is now a treasured member of my family.

For a full year Farrah begged me to get with the times and set up a Facebook account. 

“I don’t have time for that, honey!  I can barely keep up with my emails as it is!”

In her typical fashion, she was unyielding, and again, she won.  Now I am in love with Facebook.  I check it twice a day, use it to express myself, and have found countless new and old friends to keep up with.  It is truly a kick in the ass!

Now this is where my 6-year-old grandboy comes in.

“We gotGriffina Wii, Mom!” Farrah said.  “You need to learn how to use it so you can play lots of games with your grandson.”

One recent afternoon Griffin and I decided it was too hot to play outside so we hung out in his living room, which I will call “The Command Module.”

The flat-screen television covers an entire wall, under which there is an array of electronic devices.  The coffee table is littered with popcorn, various Lego pieces, nail clippers, an iPad, a laptop, a pirate ship and, I am not making this up, six different remote controls.

“Let’s play Wii, YaYa!”

“Uh, okay honey.”  At this point I am furiously texting my daughter: What combination of remotes turns on the television?  How do I activate the Wii?  How do I find the correct “Input” thingie? 

It took me a long time to remember how to work the TV in sync with the DVD player on a previous visit.  And then there was finding the secret to using Netflix.

So anyway, back to the Wii.  After getting the thing up and running at last, my boy and I are each holding “control wands” and we are now given the task of picking our three freaky looking Mario Brothers team members in this basketball-like game.  Long story short, it kind of goes like this:

“YaYa!  You’re not pushing any buttons!”

“Which buttons do what?”

“Push the “A” button, YaYa!  Then use “1” and “2” and then the criss-cross thing!”

“But I can’t tell what button makes what freaky team member do what, Sweetie!  Help Me!”

“Aha!  I just got another basket!  YaYa, why are your guys just standing around?”

I gave up and just started pushing every button on the wand.  I actually made a few points by accident.

“Can we play on Mommy’s iPad now YaYa?”

Oh God.

After staring dumbfounded while my boy deftly manipulated an electronic Lego game with his little fingers pounding the screen, I said, “Sweetheart, can we do something else now?  Like play with toys or color?”

I’m afraid YaYa is going to have to get more tech-savvy.  I prefer the afternoons when we play basketball outside, or make chalk drawings in the driveway, but alas, there is another grandboy on the way. 

I am in deep shit.


February 21, 2012 - Posted by | Modern Technology | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. =))

    Comment by kidsights | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thanks for posting this ! It is a eye opener for me. I am happily letting all this new technology pass me by. I don’t even own a cell phone. BUT, I see how it relates to spending time with your grandchildren, which I hope to be doing someday – – – after my daughter finishes graduate school. I thought I could just let the rest of the world fidget around with their devices. Guess I’d better think about that one again ! Hugs to you, my sistah.

    Comment by Luanne Fickett | February 21, 2012 | Reply

  3. Soooooo funny, Jill. I can relate. I reluctantly got my first cellphone because my employer made me. I still have that flip phone. I call. I text. But, apparently that is not enough, cuz I got me an ANDROID. I freak when it rings, although I did figure out how to answer it. And, I can’t text. Those letters are so teeny. Everyone tells me it gets better.

    Comment by judy robinson | February 27, 2012 | Reply

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