A few months before graduating from Indiana University, I told my parents that I did not want to work in Chicago as my sister had. I wanted to start my career in New York and work in marketing. They thought I was out of my mind. Who relocated to a strange city where they knew not a soul, just to do the food shopping for some company?
Years later when I informed them that I’d sold my first novel to Avon, they pondered the wisdom of going with a publisher that sold books door to door. And a few years ago when I told them I had my own website, they cranked up the Web TV and tried to check it out, but because it was built with Flash, for them it was like trying to tune into Radio Free Europe. The task of seeing my site required a trip to the library to use their computers, followed by several visits to friends until at last finding one who owned the latest technology and could show them my site. My father said it was very nice, but what good was it if nobody could find the station?
I’ve done a lot of head shaking over the years (as we probably all have trying to help our parents keep up with the times), but just as they predicted, turnaround is fair play. Now it’s my turn to feel like the village idiot as my kids keep forcing me to adapt to all the technology, and um, they are not very patient. “OMG Mom!!! I’ve shown you this six times already,” said my daughter when I asked her again how to upload my photos and create albums I can share. “Mom!!! Pay attention,” said my other daughter when I asked her how to remind me again how to get new ring tones on my cell. “It’s so easy!” “Mom, you really need to step it up with your site,” said my son the Internet expert. “You need more key words, more meta tags, more search engine optimization. Are you using the latest version of Firefox?”
I’m having a hard enough time trying to install the latest version of me. On the one hand I’m 53 and celebrating my 31st wedding anniversary tomorrow (Happy Anniversary Lee!!!!). On the other hand, who cares? it’s a young person’s world and it’s either get with the program or be labeled functionally obsolescent.
I was reminded of this last month when I went into the city for several meetings and ended up waiting around for a half an hour for my 3:30 until I finally reached the man. He said, “Oh? Didn’t you get my e-mail that I had to reschedule?” No, because I left the house early this morning. He was dumbfounded. Didn’t I have a BlackBerry? How could I not have a BlackBerry???? I don’t know. I thought it was good enough that I learned how to text message and send pictures from my phone. And hey, I learned how to post a blog, add images and respond to comments. Isn’t that good for extra credit?
Apparently not. I am still failing at using my webcam and Skype. Move over Mom and Dad. I miss the days when we could pick up the phone and be surprised by who was calling.