I am in the doctor’s office with my mother-in-law. She’s talking to me about Hilary Clinton and the email kerfluffle going on right now. My mother-in-law says in a not soft voice that while she never cared for Hilary Clinton, she heard that Hilary never had an official email issued to her, so that’s why she was using her personal email.
I looked at her. “I’m pretty sure she had a work email. Everyone has more than one email account.”
“Oh,” she said, “I thought it was pretty hard to get one.”
“I opened an account for work at the beginning of the year. It was easy.”
She seemed surprised. “I don’t know anything about that email. My prescription company keeps calling me and asking for my email, and I keep telling them that I don’t have that, and they just call me again the next month.”
Then, I’m sitting in the waiting room alone, waiting for Mom-In-Law to have her testing done, and another elderly woman sits beside me and strikes up a conversation. Why people always come up to me and start talking is a topic for another blog.
She’s 82, like my mother-in-law. She lost her i.d. and was late for her appointment. She is nervous about her appointment, afraid the doctor will find something she will need to be treated for. She is hard of hearing, but her hearing is better than her husband’s. He is practically deaf, and she doesn’t know why she shouts at him, because it just makes her hoarse and he still can’t hear her. She has two daughters and two sons. Her daughters are going through menopause, and she has grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She was looking on Facebook this morning, and her son posted the cutest picture of his grandchild on there. She is a proud mama.
I stopped her. “Wow, you’re on Facebook? That’s great.” I said.
“Yes,” she said, “But it takes my time, you know? I start looking at stuff, and before you know it, I’ve wasted the whole morning.”
“Don’t I know.”
“Are you on Facebook? “ she asks.
“Yes. I have a facebook account and a twitter account.”
“Twitter?” She looks at me like I just gave birth to the Christ child. “Wow! I could never do that twitter.”
Am I truly to be admired for figuring out how to have a twitter account? Surely not. But I think this conversation with two elderly women, both the same age, points out the differences between their generation and mine.
I am too old. I didn’t grow up surrounded by technology like my children did. We didn’t even own a typewriter. I remember when fax machines, and beepers, and the earliest version of the home computer came into being. I remember when my husband got his first phone, and then passed it down to our son. One day, Ultra Son came home and said, “I really need a new phone.”
“Is yours broken?” I asked.
“No, Mom, it’s too big. All the kids are teasing me. They say it looks like a dildo.”
As fascinating as I might find technology, as easy as it has made my life compared to that of my grandmother, I still have to navigate it from a different perspective than my children do.
For my children, use of technology and social media is natural, and the push to find the next new and better tech product is a given. Not for me, because I’m too old.
But I’m also too young. I am part of the workforce, therefore I must use technology. When I worked full time I was issued a desktop computer, a laptop computer, and an i-pad. I used all three. Now I work remotely at least one day a week, and I have to keep up with my email and scan and send documents. I’ve had to learn word processing, simple spread sheets, and presentation formats like PowerPoint and Publisher.
I have no excuse for not learning this hugely important part of the world that is social media. That’s part of the reason I started this blog. I started the blog to learn about social media, but I’m also learning about the world. Two years ago, I’d never have noted the different viewpoints of the two eighty two year old women I was privileged to share a Monday morning with last week. I never would have used their comments as a springboard for writing.
Now that I’m not swirling in the rat race/raise your family/bring home the bacon vortex, I have time to think about what’s happened during my day. I have time to write about it. I still have a few cogent thoughts, and the brain cells and skills to lay them out on paper. And that, I’d say, makes me not too young, not too old, but just about right.