Not so modern

Modern Technology

Sharing Stories
June 15, 2024 at 3:49 p.m.
Elderly gadgets were new and exciting when they first came out!
Elderly gadgets were new and exciting when they first came out! April Ryan


I had used the home computer a few times, but when I needed something typed, I pulled out my good old Remington typewriter. Oh, it had some tired keys, but I could still zip off a letter in minutes. Frankly, I thought the computer was nothing more than an expensive toy. After retirement, I signed up for a writing class and a computer class. No longer at a job, I opened new doors to modern times.

The old computer I had ignored, gave me the equivalent of a computer naughty finger. I was driving to Best Buy, for a computer repair, when I had to hit the brakes. In a wingless flight, it slammed onto the floor. I carried the traumatized dented and bruised computer into the store, ready for a wise technician to magically use Star Trek’s Dr. McCoy’s tricorder over the computer to fix it. There was no Dr. McCoy, and no magic tricorder to help when the Geek Squad Guy announced it was unfixable.

Feeling somewhat miffed in that year 2013, I took my broken computer to the Microsoft Store at University Village. The experts there agreed the computer had finished computing. I bought a lovely white Samsung desktop computer that included free Microsoft weekly classes teaching computer skills for seniors by an expert who was also a senior. For weeks and weeks, I was lucky to be the only person in the senior class. On the top of my list, I learned how to use Word for writing classes. So far, this aging computer still computes as I use my skills on Word, email, and browsing.

The teacher was so good, I decided to buy a Microsoft Smartphone. he also gave me lessons on how to use the phone. I felt like I had part of the Starship Enterprise in my hand for one adventurous year. I eventually realized that I had a desktop computer at home, a landline I was comfortable using, and few calls to make on the smarter than smart smartphone. I went to AT&T and canceled the service. When they asked why, I simply replied, “When the phone becomes smart enough to call Heaven, I’ll be back.” I do have a handy dandy cell phone for the car in case of an emergency, on a special senior plan.

Modern technology, I recall back in the 1990s, a friend asked why I didn’t have a microwave oven. My reply was, I had read in Omni Science Magazine that planes were being equipped with a radar that could fly over neighborhoods and set off a microwave like a bomb, as a weapon in a war.

     My wise friend asked, “Isn’t Omni the magazine that had a picture of a man with a bloody nose using Tampax tampons shoved up each nostril?” I do wish I had cut out that picture with the MacGyver medical fix and framed it. I did finally give up, Omni had stopped publishing, and I bought a microwave oven.

I have a television that just turned twenty-five-years-old. That’s right, a quarter of a century old Toshiba TV, not a flat screen, just a big ole box of many, many TV programs on cable. Perfect for an old senior who still remembers watching Howdy Doody and cheering with the Peanut Gallery. None of that smart TV nonsense for me. I’ve reached a point in my life where all I want is to just keep it simple.

I read in a magazine, the first passenger steam train ride was for a mile, at a speedy eighteen miles an hour. I think it was somewhere in England, the 1800s. The riders staggered off declaring no one would ever want to ride on a train. Hmm, was that Omni Magazine wisdom once again?

I remember the thrill of Dick Tracy in the newspaper Sunday Funny’s wearing a watch he used to call police headquarters, such an amazing fantasy so long ago. Now Apple has a smart watch. I may not be a modern woman, but I do tip toe in one small step at a time. Long ago dreams have arrived at an unexpected future. As time passes me by, I am sure the next generations will enjoy their futuristic ride.

April Ryan is a longtime friend of Northwest Prime Time and Ariele and a longtime writer of life stories and poems.

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