The number of seniors cruising the internet is really exciting. We are certainly disproving the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” Computers were non-existent when we were teens. We passed notes back and forth during class; there was no “texting,” because the only telephones were those black boxes on the wall (and pretty much, there was only one per household!). You held the earpiece to your ear and waited for the operator to say, “Number Please?” Well, the operator spoke to you if the line was clear; most of us had party lines, and there was a pretty good chance that when you put that earpiece to your head, you would overhear your neighbors having a conversation. Telephone etiquette dictated that you hang up immediately; if it was a true emergency, it was acceptable to ask them to please hang up so you could place an emergency call. I still remember my phone number back then: 754J.
Today, I admit I still don’t text; I think my fingers are too fat for those little keys! But like many others of my generation, I have completely accepted the computer as an essential part of our communication system. Emailing out of town family members is a boon; it operates without regard to time zone differences. Sharing pictures via the internet is now a common occurrence. We get to watch our west-coast granddaughter smile, learn to crawl, and get Gerber carrots all over her face without our leaving home.
Friends and family members in their 70’s and 80’s tell me they keep up with their families via Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The information at our fingertips is mind- boggling. Missing a recipe for broccoli salad? Not sure what the side effects of that newly prescribed medication might be? Looking for the movie theater schedule? Want to see a preview of the movie before you go? Looking for your soul mate? Missed yesterday’s soap opera? Want to read your hometown newspaper? It’s all there on the internet.
Kudos to those who have welcomed this technology into their lives. For some of us, it has not been easy; I pooh-poohed the necessity of it for some time. A reluctant convert in the beginning, I’ve become a bit of a zealot; I keep up with family, friends, and former students on facebook, create my own greeting cards, download (or is it upload?) photos, and now I’m blogging. What a great fun way to keep learning new things!