The Age of Technology

My days are filled with reminders that I am no longer young.  I wake up each morning with stiff and aching joints.  I can’t apply make-up without the help of a magnifying mirror, which is annoying because the magnifying mirror also does a terrific job of revealing every single wrinkle on my face.  (When I use a regular mirror I only notice my sagging chin and eye bags, but I found out the hard way that it’s not a good idea to apply mascara when you can’t actually see your eyelashes.)  I am reminded daily that I have nowhere near the strength or stamina I had even ten years ago.  One way or another, it is impossible for me to forget that I am getting old. And while I may not especially like it, I do accept it.

But accepting the fact that I am, shall we say, “a woman of a certain age” doesn’t mean that I enjoy being treated as if the fact that I am old also means I am incompetent and stupid.  Which is why I tend to get just a bit crabby when either my computer or my smart phone decides to act up and I am stuck with the daunting task of trying to get it fixed.

I’m not the sort of person who panics the minute something goes wrong.  I always try to identify the problem and look up ways to fix it before I finally (and reluctantly) ask for help.  And I put off asking for help because I know that as soon as I do, I will be told by someone half my age that the problem must be that I am doing something wrong.  Because if someone who looks like me (see above reference to sags, bags and wrinkles) is having a problem with her technology, the problem has to be that she isn’t bright enough to work it properly.  It can’t possibly be the fault of the computer, the smart phone, or the I-Pad, etc.

I once spent an hour with an employee at a cell-phone store who kept telling me that the problem I was explaining simply couldn’t exist.  Politely but persistently, I assured him it did.  (We old people can be stubborn.)  And even when, after exhausting all other possible explanations, he finally realized that I was telling the truth, he didn’t actually acknowledge I was right.  He just fiddled with my phone some more and handed it back to me, assuring me that it was now working just fine.  And then then went to “help” the next customer.

I know I’m not a whiz at technology, and that I was born back in the days when phones were rotary, televisions were black and white, and there was no such thing as a personal computer.  None of this comes naturally to me.  But I have learned how to operate a smart phone, publish a blog on the internet, and even send a decent text message as long as I remember to put on my reading glasses before I begin typing.  So I think I have earned the right to at least be given the benefit of the doubt when I say that something on my computer or phone isn’t working properly.

DSC01665There’s so much more I could say on this subject, but I don’t have the time.  My 87-year old mother is having problems opening her emails, and I have to go over to her house and figure out just what she is doing wrong…..

 

105 thoughts on “The Age of Technology

    • That’s a good phrase to remember! The downside of technology is that young people have a definite edge, which makes it hard for them to take our issues with it seriously. Is it bad that I comfort myself with the knowledge that someday they will also be old and struggling to keep up?

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Ann- you made me smile again! I got today a comment of “really you kayak? Good for you! “. I think my grey hair – which I refuse to die gave away my age. I say keep being stubborn at our age. Make people communicate effectively and keep learning new things when everyone thinks we are to old. Wait- I have to answer a question from my father on how to get his file from the computer to a jump drive. 😁😕

    Liked by 4 people

    • I know!! Being in the sandwich generation gives us a good perspective of both sides, doesn’t it? I ended the post this way 1) to be funny and 2) because as I was writing it, I had to admit that I have often jumped to the conclusion that when my mother is having problems with her computer that it’s her fault. And then I thought, isn’t that EXACTLY the same thing that drives me crazy when people do it to me? Ha!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I think it is absolutely amazing that we who had to self -teach today’s technology do as well as we do. It wasn’t fair that we were thrown into today’s digital world with no formal preparation. Mom and dad had it easy. They transitioned from a wall crank phone to a rotary dial, a radio to a TV, a stick shift to an automatic, an iron skillet to an electric fry pan. BIG DEAL.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Exactly, Larry! Years from now, students will be taught lessons on the technological revolution and how quickly it impacted society, and they will be talking about the times we are living in. And the people who lived through the industrial revolution thought they had it hard….

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ll second the “exactly!”

        Remember the “good old days” when instructions were in actual text and not some cryptic hieroglyphics – that is, if there are any instructions at all?

        (I will conveniently sidestep the issue of printed instructions that on the rare occasion do accompany a purchase, and the fact that they use an itty-bitty font.)

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Excellent! I had a similar frustrating “session” with a MicroSoft tech. I was basically told that what I said was happening to my emails wasn’t possible. After that, he pretty much shut me off. By the way, it’s still happening…

    Maybe you could come to my house once you’ve fixed your mother’s issue 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Isn’t that the worst? We tell them, very clearly, what is going on, and their answer is that it isn’t possible. If it doesn’t make sense to them, it doesn’t exist. Which is an easy and comfortable world view, but not exactly an honest or realistic one!
      As for your computer, I’ll let you know how it goes at my mom’s house! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

    • At least he admitted it! That is a huge step, I think. And yes, I’m actually proud of my mom. She does e-mail and even Facebook sometimes. And if I think it’s a foreign concept for me, just imagine how it feels to her!

      Like

  4. Yup. That is the case in some instances. Then there is my mother. She took a college class on DOS (you remember that first system?) so that she could start using the computer. My father was a programmer and so he HAD to have the first personal computer that came out (along with the first computer game system). Anyway she is completely connected – facebook, twitter, snapchat, several listserv and a multitude of chat rooms. She used to have a xanga account and has been toying with setting up a WP site. She facetimes with her grandchildren, and has netflix, hulu, and a slew of devices (iPhone, iPad, laptop, and desktop not to mention her satellite radio!)…. She is considering an apple watch and told me I could get her a fitbit for Christmas! At 85 she is more technologically savvy than many younger folks.

    Liked by 5 people

    • That is impressive!!! Believe me, count yourself lucky that your mom is both familiar with technology and so willing to use it to keep connected to all her family. What a great example of how age doesn’t need to be a barrier to being a trail blazer or to embracing new things. (And what I wouldn’t give to be able to witness the exchange when she enters a phone, Apple, or PC store. I bet they are in awe of her! I know I am.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I liked the twist at the end, and the humour and irony of the situation.

    The support personnel employed by the tech companies are mostly idiots with an attitude. For nearly three decades of my life, I have never allowed one to touch my PC, mobile phone, or even the wifi router at my home. Although that might change as I get greyer and wrinkled —I am running out of both patience and desire to keep myself updated. But I usually forgive the so-called ‘executives’ who are supposed to help you out rather than belittle your intelligence, thinking if they had been even slightly more wise they’d be doing something much better somewhere.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s a good point. I try to be polite to telemarketers for the same reason: if they had the ability to hold down a better job, they would.
      I also try to avoid updates as much as possible, because often they make things worse. And now and then I get a technician (or whatever they call them) who is nice and helpful, but often they are as you describe. I remember once, shortly after my father died and I was having problems with my email. I had no time to deal with it, so I called the support department of my server. The kid who took my call kept telling me that I had no idea how emails actually worked…he was right, but he missed the point that I didn’t care either….and kept me on the phone for twenty minutes that I didn’t have to spare. Finally, he said, “well if you’re truly not interested in understanding, just do *** and your emails will go through.” I was so mad. Why didn’t he tell me that in the first place????

      Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome, fellow chin-hair plucker!! I honestly thing the only way we can truly understand the challenges of aging is to actually age. I remember when I was young and older people told me how hard it was to be old, and I didn’t get it at all. Now, sadly, I do.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah! I keep two pairs of reading glasses in the kitchen because I can’t really cook without them. And now I have to wear them in the grocery store as well, just so I can read the expiration dates on whatever I happen to be buying. Or sometimes just to see whatever it is I am actually buying!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There were so many LOL moments in the blog Ann. But yes, it can get annoying at times. I experience that when my pre-teen fixes a problem on my phone and that too inspite of me being tech savy.. But then I fix the issues on my mom’s phone. My friend who is a decade older than me recently messaged me that he is waiting for me to download an app on his phone and make the necessary changes. lol!
    How we wish the magnifying glass would only show the hair on the chin and not wrinkles. And how we wish the store person could actually look into the problem in the phone and not be judgemental based on the assumed age of the customer! Or are we wishing for too much!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t think it is too much! I really think that the two biggest downsides of technology are our shortened attention spans and the way that old people are no longer considered even remotely wise. Because we struggle with some of the changes and tech advances, we actually do appear to be less than smart to those who are younger than us. So now we have wrinkles and the task of constantly proving that we aren’t totally incompetent!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. So funny, in common with most other commentators I could have written all of this, down to the troubleshooting for my 91 year-old mother. Problem is, it often is something she’s done, often inadvertently, but she absolutely will not accept that, nor that sometimes things are just a blip and there’s no need to panic every time the broadband goes down. Heated conversations might ensue!

    Also, having worked in a university library I can attest that not all young people are as tech savvy as you (and they) might think.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, I’m going to remember that. My son once told me that he often solves my computer issues simply by Googling the answer. And he has a degree in IT.
      As for your mother, I sympathize. My mom is almost too quick to think she did something wrong, but she’s not so big on trying to figure out what might have happened. I just get a call informing me that her computer, or email, or whatever isn’t working again. She has many strong points, but patience isn’t one of them!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. FUN article. I have taught myself to say a memorized phrase (and feel I’ve earned the right to do so in my years on this earth), “Let’s start over and pretend I have a brain.”

    If that doesn’t do the trick, said with a hint of humor in my voice and a big smile on my face, I look the guy right in the eyes (and it usually IS a guy) and say, directly and seriously, “You are patronizing me. I find it offensive. Stop it NOW or get me your boss.” Sometimes it even works – lol – but it ALWAYS makes me feel better.

    I’ve also learned to ask for an apology when one is due — “You can apologize any time now.” beat . . . beat, “I’m quite serious. I’d like to hear your apology.” That almost always garners a stammered “sorry” – after which I simply say a pointed “thank you,” and move quickly on. Try it sometime. I have found it amazingly effective.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. On the tech: sometimes it is me, and just as often, it is not. Thus far, I’ve been relatively fortunate that the techs I deal with in person haven’t been overly condescending. But it is frustrating to have someone assume that my grey hair means lack of intellect.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it is, and I’ve found that to be true more often when dealing with technology than in other areas. But you are right that it isn’t always the case. I have been treated with respect and dignity, and gotten the assistance I needed, from some techs…regarding my phone, my tv, and even my blog. Thanks for the reminder that it’s not always bad!

      Like

  10. Your last paragraph says it all, dear Ann. Helping your 87 year old mother with her email problem lends an ironic and humorous perspective to your age-related post. Do not worry about the wrinkles, rather rejoice over your ability to deal effectively with arrogant people who trying to tell you that it must be your fault when their devices are not working.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yup we grew up with four teenagers, two adults and one phone with no call waiting invented then… technology today still constantly gets the better of me. The best people to turn to are young kids…this stuff is all second nature to them.

    Re being invisible as we age, this is only true in Western socities, the U.S. more so than say, France…. and in Asia, older people are highly respected for their wisdom and life experience. You might have to move 🙂

    Peta

    Liked by 3 people

    • Gotta say, moving to Asia is sounding pretty darned good right now! Just because we have to ask our kids for help with our gadgets doesn’t mean we don’t have a whole lot of wisdom to share in all other areas.

      Like

  12. I also not so caught up with the age of technology, however I learned to take advantage of it. Every time I have a problem with my phone or tablet ,I say it right away, that I have no clue with what is going on and I don’t understand. After that, usually the service personnel are really nice to me and help me through all my technology problems. Your last paragraph reminded me when I try to help my mom with my limited knowledge about technology. The thing is, that most of the time I am able to fix her computer problems 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This reminds me of a conversation with a young man in a call centre, having had difficulties in getting the SIM provider to recognise my smartphone. He first told me my smartphone must be a cheap Chinese model because he couldn’t find it on the internet (actually a relatively expensive, well known Scandinavian model) and then adked me if I had a male relative or kindly neighbour who could put the SIM in properly for me. When he had gone, the problem solved itself!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can’t believe he asked if you had a male relative handy…. That’s a new low! I bet the problem did resolve itself once he was gone, taking his judgemental self and negative vibes somewhere else!

      Like

  14. Where I often find a problem is when you call a help desk that has canned scripts for dealing with problems, and if it’s not in the script it must be your fault. As I spent a career doing techy stuff it can be interesting explaining to these “experts” that I actually do have a clue, and I’ve exhausted the usual avenues. Of course the flip side is, my expertise is rapidly becoming obsolete…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I agree! When they are working off scripts and our problem doesn’t fit one of them, then we are really in trouble. And it is sad how quickly tech expertise becomes obsolete. I think that is one of the reasons why younger people really do have a edge, even with people like yourself that do know what they are talking about. The new stuff is the first thing they learn, so they have no adjustments to make.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m impressed that your 87 year old mom is still operating a computer and exchanging emails. Imagine the skills you’ll have at her age..:)
    I couldn’t agree more with your words, Ann. I think what annoys me the most is that smug smile that sometimes prefaces my explanation of a technical problem. It’s like they have already made up their mind and now have to endure my question and problem. I m not an expert but I have a general knowledge so I love when the look on their faces change just a bit and their attitude shifts. If only I can say what I really want to say..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I am impressed with my mom for at least trying to navigate the strange new world of on-line communication. She does emails and even Facebook, and usually keeps up quite well.
      As for the looks we get from the “help” at cell phone stores and computer stores, yeah, I can totally relate. Did you see Madelyn’s comments? I love them, and am going to start using them as needed. My favorite is, “Let’s start over, and pretend I have a brain!” Seriously, that’s my new go-to line!!!

      Like

  16. I hear you! Sometimes it seems younger folks assume that the older generation is not competent in general. If they only new that every system has changed on us and what fortitude and wit it takes to adjust over and over. . . also you can ditch make up altogether-you are just lovely!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know!! My son came over this evening and fixed several long-term issues I’ve had with the Cloud and my phone. And he was sweet and helpful, but I still wanted to ask him, “Do you realize how hard this is for me to understand? Do you realize what a different world I was born into?” And heck, that’s my son, whom I love dearly, is a wonderful person, and who treats me well. Just think of how we feel when we’re dealing with a young person who doesn’t know us at all!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gosh you are so right! I just got a cell a few yearsago-the cheapest one you could get because I KNEW I would only use it to talk! Seniors have had a dramatic life change-they always have and we ought to respect that- and pay attention too-because while technology has changed life . . the human condition has not changed and old folks know what they are talking about! haha! thank you Ann!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I love this. Its so true. I may not be classed as “a certain age” but I find each year brings a new change in either my body or mentality. I have also decided not to care (or at least pretend I dont).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Your post and your readers’ comments are what’s magical here, Coleman. Technology is just a tool. And in fact most of us have grown up with all of them. The post office, the typewriter, the telephone, the radio, television, and the transistor. Text, audio, video, and application minimization. The toggle- this- then- that-truth is, it’s market making using last centuries technologies while making us all feel that we’re living in some enlightened new.

    Just look-up how the stock market responds to companies pimping “Blockchain” technology. It’s akin to a tulip bubble. And autonomous car technology, just think how much that will change the centuries old insurance industry. That will remake a market.

    The point here is that if one were living seventy years ago, you could still turn on electric lights, make a phone call or send a telegram to your mom, listen to music or the news in the comfort of your home, open the refrigerator, turn on central heat, bath in a tub of instant hot water, and then go to the picture show.

    But just seventy years before that, for the most part, your day to day would be void of any of those devices and existence would feel much the same as relatives from the middle ages.

    Computer tech is just a reworking of the old stuff to continue necessary economic growth. And those smug little pricks who feel that “woman of a certain age” are just a pain in the ass of this New Brave World of the bit and byte have a rude awakening coming. They are not the cutting edge of anything new. They were born to renovate the existing tech developed by their great to great grand parents. They will live and die centuries away from any era of equal innovation. They think their magic. There just minders.

    Nice post Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a very good point, Doug. We do need to keep this all in perspective and realize that just because someone is more comfortable with the newest technology doesn’t mean they actually had anything to do with inventing it…. The days when people lived largely the same way their ancestors did are well and truly over, and, as you pointed out, have been for quite a while now. (I remember when my dad was marveling at all the changes his parent’s generation had lived through, and he was right. And now the changes seem to be coming even more quickly!)
      Thanks for the perspective, and for sharing it on the blog. Your comments always add a deeper dimension to the discussion!

      Like

  19. Oh my gosh, I was getting mad for you and ready to ask for that man’s phone number so I could give him a piece of my mind. I was just with four ‘old’ (um, I mean long-time) college friends for our annual get-together. We live in five different states and find a place on the map to all fly in and meet and then….then, we act like the 18-year-olds we were when we first met. That first night we went to a restaurant and started giggling and goofing off like someone NOT our age. The (25-year-old) waiter was scared at first, I think. We told him to get with the show, and then he relaxed and enjoyed our fun. We people 50 and older need to show off our stuff and NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!! 🙂
    P.S. Loved your last line – I laughed out loud.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still get together once a year with a couple of good high school friends, and we do the same thing: act as if we are in high school again. It is tremendous fun, and very refreshing! I think you are absolutely right, we 50-plus women do need to reclaim our right to have fun, to be treated as intelligent human beings and to be taken seriously. Because, honestly, none of us want to take it any more! Thanks for the comment!!

      Like

  20. Don’t fret…some of the millenials today don’t even go to the extent of trying to figure out the problem on their own, even if its as simple as figuring out a device was unplugged, so from that perspective your already ahead of the game. I literally laughed out loud at the ending, that was prettt funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. LOL! l had to laugh so much reading your last paragraph about helping your mom with her emails 😉
    And don’t worry: I might be younger than you but also struggle with technology at times and my only excuse when I have to ask someone else to help me after everything I tried didn’t help is that I am a woman which isn’t much of an excuse either 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! And honestly, I think some of us just have more difficulties with technology than others. I’ve never been good at math, although writing and reading comes naturally to me. So perhaps it isn’t entirely age related, but also has something to do with the way we learn and process? Although I do think that my age doesn’t help!
      Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Your story could be mine, minus the mad cleaning that I am definitely not doing but will get to eventually (I hope….I’d rather write….as we know I do nothing in moderation). A while ago I showed a 30ish colleague of mine at work a blog post I had written about which he had expressed an interest. It had some GIFs sprinkled in it. He said with astonishment “How did you get those!” I was surprised. Didn’t he know where to find GIFs? I said “From the internet.”
    Then I realized that he was shocked that I knew where and how to add them to a document or blog. I’m not too old to know these things *sigh*
    ps. Those magnifying mirrors should be outlawed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s hard to cope when we realize that people are just looking at us and assuming we are totally clueless about everything that has anything to do with technology! I’m pretty sure our grandparents didn’t have to put up with that kind of age discrimination, but it’s just part of our society now.
      And I like your idea of outlawing the magnifying mirrors! I’m not a fan of Facetime either, since I get to see my wrinkly face the whole time I’m using it. You’d think they’d put a few filters on the thing…

      Liked by 1 person

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