Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner February 10, 2022
Master one new device and something new quickly comes along.
I know, I know, we owe huge thanks to the guys in Silicon Valley for the innovations and heartwarming connectivities they’ve designed for our enjoyment. A salute to all those crewcuts in chino pants, who have brought us here. (With major contributions from guys and gals in other countries.)
But where, please, and how soon, does it stop, or even slow down? Just when I think I’ve seen the ultimate in click behaviour, something more comes along to rattle me.
The vocabulary itself astonishes me: terms like “WhatsApp” and “Tik Tok.” Zillions of pictures flying around the globe. The Kodak Company, which once sold and then developed our rolls of print, has gone out of business.
I confess my level of competence. I have figured out how to check out groceries myself, even though I rue the fact that it reduces jobs for humans. I go slowly. Faced with a screen with scores of choices and another device for one’s credit card, plus a cheery voice telling me to “Go Back,” a transaction-with-me-in-charge can take three times longer than a lineup with a friendly word with a human person. That personal interaction has been important during COVID-19 lockdown.
I ordered a straightforward candy thermometer - you know, the kind to get your fudge right. It came, the size of a small paddle, with an on/off switch and a choice between Celsius and Fahrenheit. I suspect it makes coffee too.
“Meanwhile,” as comic Stephen Colbert would say, there are other technical things I have mastered. I can put the car on cruise control (never do) and I can replenish the windshield washer. I can take part in a Zoom call, though certainly not host one. I can turn on the electric blanket, the radio and the TV.
I am working on understanding the capabilities of each of my three devices. I have acquired a cellphone (though keeping the land line), a tablet, and a TV, though I don’t think it’s smart. I have had a lesson, which I don’t remember now, on recording a program you aren’t watching.
But proof of old-fogey status is the fact that I am not tethered to my phone and sometimes go two days without knowing where it is.
Using all that electricity fills me with regret. I lobby the powers-that-be that it must come from hydro, geothermal, wind, solar and nuclear, not from coal, oil and gas.
Financially, as behooves the wife of an accountant, I have learned to take money out of an ATM, and I can e-transfer funds. But since I prefer small bills to large, I usually go into the credit union for a visit.
I carry all the plastic cards it is possible to carry, considering one’s back: Scene, Indigo, Aeroplan, health, driver’s licence and CAA, QR-coded vaccine passport, Optimum, organ donation and Retired Teachers.
Kinda ridiculous, modern life. Please tell me, what exactly is an “influencer?” How does one train?
Here’s a story from the 1950s, before it was required that I learn all these technical skills. I was a college student in Toronto. Friday nights, I called my parents in Kirkland Lake. First of all, you picked up the receiver and a pleasant voice said, “Number, please?” You said ”31.” I kid you not, two digits for my home. It rang for a bit. No answer. Then the pleasant voice said, “You know, I think that often on Friday nights the Burnses play bridge down at the Harris’s. Shall I ring there?”
Now that’s service.
The morning on which it is announced that I have won the Nobel Prize in Science and Tech, I will share the honour with Pegi Eyers, Wendy Wallace, Peter Laurie, John McNeill and Colin of Benchmark, Ann MacLeod, Ray Saitz, Alana Callan and Emma Ganley, age 12.
"Gleanings" is Rosemary Ganley's new book. You can purchase directly from the author at email@example.com or from >Amazon<