by Risa Green
For a while, I was feeling really on top of things, technologically speaking. When email first came out, back when I was in law school, I got on it right away. I was surfing the internet when people were still calling it the world wide web. My husband and I were early adopters of TiVo, digital cameras and Blue Ray. I joined Facebook when it was still considered something for teenagers and college kids, and I started blogging before it became a national pastime. I’ve been a Sirius subscriber since Howard Stern was still on terrestrial radio. And texting? I M GR8 @ IT. But lately, I’m starting to feel behind the curve.
I noticed it for the first time about a month ago, when a dad I know asked for my email address. I gave it to him, and he noted, surprised, that I still use earthlink as my email provider. I didn’t know earthlink still existed, he commented. Then he jokingly asked whether I have a dial up connection. At least, I think he was joking. I do realize that Earthlink is oh so 1997 and that it’s just one degree from still being on AOL, but the thought of informing everyone I know that I’ve switched to gmail or mac, the thought of changing all of my online accounts and contact information in every nook and cranny of my life – ugh. It’s just too overwhelming. I’d rather keep getting monthly emails from Earthlink telling me that my mailbox is almost full than deal with all of that.
But staying with Earthlink is a conscious choice. Being clueless in other areas is not. I know what Skype is, but I’ve never used it until recently, when my eight year-old went online and opened a Skype account so she could video chat with her friends. After she’d been on it for an hour (do you think I should wear this dress or this dress to the party? Wait – do you like my hair this way? Ew! What are you eating?) I told her that she had to get off because I needed to use the phone, and she laughed at me. Moooom, she said, her eyes rolling backwards into her skull. I’m not on the phone. It’s Skype. Sure enough, when I picked up the phone, there was the dial tone, waiting for me the whole time. Duh.
When Twitter first became available, I decided that I would not tweet, because my life is not interesting enough for me to tweet about. But again, I seem to have missed the point. After listening to some people talk about Twitter, I realized that it’s not about making yourself interesting. It’s about commenting on other things that are interesting. And following people who are commenting on things that are interesting. So, I recently opened a Twitter account, for the sole purpose of following Steve Martin, who I hear is a genius of a tweeter. But when I did a search for Steve Martin to try to follow him, I could only find other people commenting about Steve Martin, and all of the # and @ stuff got so confusing that I eventually gave up.
So here’s what I’m trying to figure out now: when did I get old? I remember when I convinced my mother to sign up for email, and for years she called it “the email.” It drove me insane. But then last night, I was watching Mother, that movie with Albert Brooks and Debbie Reynolds, and there’s a scene where Debbie Reynolds is trying to use the video phone her son gave her, so that they can see each other when they talk. Only she can’t figure out how to get herself in front of the camera, and her son is losing his mind trying to explain it to her. A few years ago, I would have laughed at this, because I would have related to the son. But now, I laughed at it because I related to Debbie Reynolds. Who, by the way, is like seventy-five years old in this movie. So then I stopped laughing, and thought, seriously, when did I become seventy-five years old??
The thing is, I’m not dumb, and I have a relatively solid understanding of technology. I could sit down and figure it all out, if I really wanted to. But I think I just don’t care that much anymore. Foursquare? Not interested. Pandora Radio? No thanks. Holding my phone over those square, bar-codey things that are supposed to give you more, interactive information about whatever is it they’re placed on? It just makes me tired.
So yes, perhaps I am stuck in the past, missing out on things I don’t even know I’m missing out on. Blogging, I hear is becoming passé. Facebook is for senior citizens. Emails are falling out of favor, having been replaced with the more informal text. Even the iPad that I just got eight months ago is obsolete already. So this is it. I’m admitting defeat. I just can’t keep up, and I’m not even gonna try. If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be at Earthlink.net, writing my books in Microsoft Word on my PC, listening to the 80’s channel on Sirius.