Times have changed; I get that even though I firmly believe that if you hold on to certain things long enough, they come back in style. But time keeps ticking, and alarms remind us that it’s time to wake up to the world we live in today.
I remember when I was in 5th grade standing in the kitchen with my mother and feeling she wasn’t up enough with the times, up enough on “current” culture. When I’d talk about my favorite bands, The Who and The Guess Who, she would think I was playing a game. It went something like this:
(Me): I love Guess Who
(Me): Yeah, I love The Who too, but I also love Guess Who.”
(Mom): I don’t know who, you’ll have to tell me.
(Me): I did, I love Guess Who.
(Mom): Well, if you want to keep your crush a secret that’s up to you…”
A little bit like Abbot and Costella’s Who’s on First….
I decided that as I grew older, I would always be up on pop culture and social trends. When I got married and had kids, I would listen to the same music they listened to, watch the same television shows they watched and speak the same (groovy) language they spoke.
I would stay, in the words of Bob Dylan, Forever Young.
But while my 5th grade self assured my mother that I would always be up on the most current trends as I got older—surprise—I wasn’t. I have to say my biggest downfall is the technological revolution. There’s a new language out there and it makes me feel like I’m traveling in a foreign country where I know just enough of the basics to get by, but the risk of making a faux pas with my limited understanding runs high.
When I hear “tech talk” I have to allow time for my brain to process what I think I’m hearing with what is really being said. I feel like I represent the idiom, “A day late and a dollar short,” but I’m trying to reclaim both the hour and the new generation. Here are some examples of how I have to rewire my brain because quite often, I just don’t compute.
When I hear that something’s gone viral, my first impulse is to wash my hands more frequently and to check in with my doctor….
When someone refers to a text message, I initially imagine a flash of insight while studying a verse from the Torah, or the Bhagavad Gita, or the Dhammapana.
This whole four-square thing? I’m back at recess happily bouncing the ball with three friends each in our respective square.
This talk of status? My mind goes to this necessary evil of a capitalist society that gets played out in high school cafeterias and corporate boardrooms across the country.
You mention Tumblr, and I picture glassware that is preferably holding an adult beverage best drunk on a deck overlooking a sea.
A tweet brings me to the sounds of birds singing in the morning, or the opening scene of Snow White at the wishing well.
How often do I hear people refer to google and imagine the sounds a little brother makes before he can talk and tattle on you telling your parents that you were drinking beer with your friends in the basement last night.
And don’t get me started with megabytes: When I hear people comparing numbers, I simply want to chastise them for not using insect repellant on their hike in the woods.
To me, a hard drive is traveling California’s highway 1 at night along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco.
My friends talk of Pandora, but what I picture is the proverbial box that once opened reveals family secrets that rival the lives of the characters on Desperate Housewives.
Everyone’s talking about smart phones, but before I think iphone, I remember the sleek powder blue princess trimline phone my friends and I coveted in middle school to match our flowered bedroom wallpaper. With push buttons rather than a rotary dial, we were looking smart, indeed.
So, you get the picture. I have new respect for my mother’s confusion when I talked about The Who and Guess Who. I now understand.
Early on, my kids tried to help me with this new language the way I once corrected their grammar. Time after time, when I would ask them if they had “befriended” someone on facebook, they would remind me that you “friend,” you don’t “befriend.”
I realize that I am finally moving forward in this new language and this new technological world. In the time it’s taken to write this blog, I am anxious that I’ve have missed status updates on Facebook, have too many unread tweets, and quite possibly am behind on seeing where someone has just checked in on foursquare.
I have text messages to send, a blog to post to my website and then to my two twitter accounts, and emails to read through.
Afterwards, I think I’ll take my book out on the deck and enjoy an old fashioned summer’s afternoon drinking lemonade and reading my book….unless that is, I forgot to charge my Kindle…
P.S. Everyone keeps talking about this amazing woman named Ciri who is loved and respected by men and women alike and who is supposed to be incredibly smart, well-informed, patient and kind ….does anyone know her? I’d like to befriend her, I mean friend her, on facebook.