I'm really getting to adore this modern technology. I spent years trying to tell people that all they had to do in order to use email was get a computer, sign up for a dial up connection and they'd be in. I was always thrilled when I got something from one of my brothers or sisters. "Look," I'd say to Marilyn. "We got mail and best of all it's free." It didn't cost us a thing. Yeah, right.
Now I get my email both at home and on my not-so-smart phone. Every few minutes during the day I now get unbelievable deals right in my pocket, all kinds of new and different ways to save money on shoes and siding and furniture and the latest joke to be circling the globe.Just yesterday I was huffing and puffing while hoisting a sweep auger into a grain bin. Then it happened, I got an advertisement for a "spot cooler" on my phone. How did they know I was sweating?
I also received notification by the newspaper in Omaha that texting or sending a picture with your smart phone is not the best way to contact a 911 operator. Yes, I stared at the grain bin wall for a bit. A picture! How would you accomplish that feat? "Dear 911, in the attached photo please find the picture of my right hand and notice also that it is no longer attached to my right arm. Please send an ambulance." Later in the hospital you'll come to realize that it's a good thing you're left-handed or you couldn't have sent the text.
I was warned about even wading off into the dark and murky waters of smart phones. My sons use them but when I called and said, "Dan, Marilyn and I can buy one and get one free, what do you think?" After a long and awkward pause he said, "Uh, Dad, there's a pretty steep learning curve when you go to these phones. Are you sure you have the patience for this?" Then I yelled, no, spoke forcefully into the phone and said, "What the heck is that supposed to mean?" I'm not sure but I think he quietly said to himself, "precisely."
We've been inventing new words ever since we made the plunge. I will tell Marilyn, "Your phone just Droided you," alluding to the deep voiced "DROID" the phone makes when it needs to inform me that I have a text or an email from some place like "Mens Big and Tall." (No, I'm not tall.)
I had to change my notification sound to something besides Droid because I couldn't always hear it when a machine was running, so I experimented and settled on a tone with various tinkling sounds. The tone was titled "Fairy Dust." So, of course Marilyn will bring me my phone as she did just now and says, "Here, your phone just Fairy Dusted you." That better not have been a giggle I just heard as she walked away. It's also sort of embarrassing to be standing with a group of farmers at the elevator and have someone say with alarm, "What was that?" "Cliff, do you have Tinker Bell in your pocket." I tell them, "Look, at least I can hear it."
In my earliest recollections, I recall going with my parents who were born in 1905 and 1907 to visit some of their elderly friends. Otto and Lilly lived way back in the hills and were neighbors to my folks at one time. They fairly marveled at the new technology, just as I do today. Their new-fangled communication device hung on the wall and had a hand crank on the side. The crank was the "notification" device used to "Droid" the operator who may or may not be in bed depending on the time of day or night you lit her up.
The question is whether or not we're making progress. This coming from a guy who remembers a time when we all didn't need to carry a personal supply of high priced water with us at all times or a smart phone.
The progress is indeed questionable in societal terms. I now get phone calls from my sons at the Body Shop that goes like this. I say "Hello," and then a customer walks into their shop and the reply is, "I'll have to let you go Dad. I'll call you back." Calls like that are hard to explain to your wife. "That was Tom calling to say he doesn't have time to talk."
When I was a lad if someone was on the phone, it was important. "He'll be with you in a bit, he's on the phone, it's long distance." "Oh, long distance, I can come back another day."
Now everyone's on the phone, it's the reason we have nothing to talk about when we get home at night. "Yes dear, I know that, remember, you called me and you sent me a text about it."
This day is now complete; Marilyn just rushed out the door to go to work and texted me that she loves me. I was fairy dusted just as I heard the door slam shut.