Right before I started these blogs I was talking to my sister Kathy on the phone and we were talking about the Internet and I believe I said these words: “I don’t get these people who write blogs. I mean, really, who cares? Who would want to read all that?”
The next day I sat down and started writing a blog.
Here’s my excuse: When I was talking to Kathy, I was my middle-aged self. Right after I hung up, I jumped back on my quest to try to keep up with the times, keep current and try to figure out what the hell is going on. The older I get the more urgent it is that I do this. With my hair turning mousy gray and my skin vacillating between bread dough and crepe chiffon, I need to be as modern acting as I possibly can.
I still love to play the old lady and say to my kids, “You know when I was your age, we didn’t have things like the Internet. I had to go to the library to look things up in big, heavy books that you weren’t allowed to check out and which smelled funny.”
My kids also think my husband and I walked to school uphill both ways, got a shot every time we went to the doctor, and had to take poison up the nose every time we had the sniffles. (These all are a tiny bit true.)
It was tough being a kid in the ‘60s. We were in danger of having our eyes poked out on a daily basis, and we looked straight hair dead in the eye by not eating our bread crusts. This was also before they found a cure for getting overheated. (And in the nick of time - I think I may have almost died of it. Or needed some coolant at my next tune-up.) We also faced getting hemorrhoids from sitting on the cold cement wall in front of the school, having permanently crossed eyes from making faces, and getting pinworms from playing with kids whose parents and addresses we didn’t know.
Much easier to be a kid now. But much harder to be an adult and still appear to be more than three steps away from the automatic double doors of the nursing home.
Take phones for example. My kids snort with malignant laughter every time I talk on my cell phone. I don’t hold it right, I don’t know any shortcuts and I talk REALLY LOUD into it, as if it’s a tin can on a string.
That’s all true, but what they don’t realize is how far I’ve come.
When I was growing up, our only means of communicating with people outside our house were A) standing on the front porch and yelling loud (which explains why most children’s names pre-1970 ended in vowels – they carried) and B) our 40-pound black phone, which sat in the downstairs hall. We had a party line, so not only did we have to share one phone with the six people living in our house, but also had to let another family use our line. Sometimes the mean party line lady would come on in the middle of a call and ask meanly if you could get the hell of the damn phone, she had an important call to make.
I eventually evolved to a single phone line, then a two-extension phone life, and then even got one of the early cordless phones, but it still weighed 40 pounds and had an antenna that could have picked up a state highway patrol scanner.
Then came the breakup of AT&T, sweet long-distance deals, drive-up pay phones, a job with a Watts Line, a car phone (which actually was a state highway patrol scanner, thinly disguised), and then my first cell phone, which I refused to use except for emergencies.
And that’s just the phones. We won’t get into other technological advances that I lay awake at night worrying about how to do. What buttons to push . . . which adapter goes with that . . . what does the red thing do . . . where are the instructions . . . The list of things I own but need my kids’ help operating is growing longer every day.
The only upside is that I’m unable to become addicted to the newest addition to our wall socket, Guitar Hero, because I don’t know how to turn it on. I’m forced to act my age, at least until one of the kids comes home from school. You gotta love technology.
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In other news: From this week’s visit to Joseph Beth Bookstore:
This week, I spent 30 minutes flipping through a new magazine I discovered, Redneck World. Slogan - “There’s a little bit of redneck in all of us.”
This month’s edition featured a cover spread of a woman who had captured what appeared to be a badly burned alligator (or crocodile, no alligator), with the caption: “I been telling y’all don’t go messing with our redneck gals!” (Sure, if you’re an alligator.)
Memorable pages: Two full-page color photos of girls in camo bikinis, and this in-house offer for a $2,000 ad: “We target your marketplace, comprised of hunters, fishermen, the owners of big trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, RVs, double wide homes, bass boats and rural land . . . plus beer drinkers, chewing tobacco and snuff users . . . NASCAR fans . . .” You get the picture.
Next week: Town and Country