Trying to Get With It

Side portrait of a confused man using laptop at home

I sat in the top row of an arena during the first round of an NCAA basketball tournament, baffled by the timeout behavior of the crowd. When action on the court stopped, fans occupied themselves by visiting the Internet or sending texts on cell phones that glowed like fireflies throughout the stadium.

Why weren’t they stretching, snacking, mugging for TV, or talking to one another?

If I sound scornful, it’s my ineptness speaking. When it comes to technology I flounder around with the finesse of a hippopotamus taking a mud bath.

I do have a modicum of skill. For example, I use the Internet for important research: Recently, remembering a teenage crush, I googled Gorgeous George. Soon I was perusing photographs of the professional wrestler with blonde curls, whose valet sprayed him with Chanel #10 before he entered the ring.

I also use email. I enjoy the entertainment it provides when messages assure me I can re-grow my hair, consolidate my debt, lose weight, and increase my virility. I text so my grandchildren will respond; and Joel and I share a Facebook page, which we use more like voyeurs than participants.

But networks like Classmate, Plaxo, and Desktop Dating baffle me.

Classmate is a site for those who sometimes entertain idle thoughts about their high school years: “I wonder what became of that kid, Donny Hickman, who carried a wooden puppet every where and whispered to it?”

My husband succumbed when he was notified that Classmate had 188 registrants from his high school. After joining, he received a message: “You’re popular, Joel. Three people signed your guest book today.”

Seemed like a liberal definition of popular to me.

One of the questions on Classmate’s entry form stumped me: “What kind of person were you in high school: bully, clown, gossip, jock, loner, misfit, nerd, party animal, troublemaker?”

I couldn’t see a category for someone who mostly got along and did well — despite suffering occasional bouts of acne and having only three pairs of school-worthy shoes. So I didn’t join.

Next came the Plaxo hubbub. My siblings and I received email notifications that my older brother, Bob, had invited the rest of us to join him on Plaxo. We all like Bob. We forgave him long ago for sneaking into the basement and eating all the fruit cocktail Mom bottled as a special treat. So we signed up.

When we received no further messages, we called one another, “What is Plaxo, anyway? Sounds vaguely dental, doesn’t it? Is Bob losing it?” Finally, Blaine called Bob: “What is Plaxo, and why did you want us on it?”

“Heck, Blainer, I don’t know. I didn’t join anything.”

Right. He lied about the fruit cocktail, too.

Then I received an invitation to join in the fun of Desktop Dating. My fingers stumbled in their rush to delete it. The invitation supposedly came from my brother, Lawrence, a 77-year-old, married, great-grandfather at the time.

I’m not sure my family is fit for the age of technology.

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46 thoughts on “Trying to Get With It

  1. Laughing out loud on this Janet. Or in today’s parlance LOL. I, apparently, have a Twitter account of which I have no recollection setting up, heaven forbid there are two of me out there. TV programmes are another element of 21st century life I wonder about. The MOTH and I figure there are some programmes that even we are not mature enough to watch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll be watching for some tweets from you, QP, filled with more acronyms I don’t get. And TV. I remember someone famous, or notorious, saying TV is a vast wasteland. Though I don’t recall the originator, I agree with the sentiment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hilarious! I’m computer illiterate. I once hit the wrong button and deleted half of a 50,000 word document. I stayed up till 3:00 a.m. putting it back together and found out the next day I could have hit one button and retrieved all of it. It took me 6 hours to install ms word–6 hours. I don’t face or tweet, and I struggle with blogging, as I can’t shake the feeling that it’s a waste of time, too. I do like the texting: I get immediate responses that way. Great piece, Janet. I do enjoy the emails that inform me that I won the Mogadishu lottery though. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m so happy people I admire are admitting to the same frustrations with technology I have. I picture all my blog friends flowing easily from one device to another with nary a hitch in their get-along. While I slog about, clicking in all the wrong places.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I will quickly pass on any opportunity to once again be part of my high school class, even virtually. I have met more friends in this community that I did in those crowded halls. One of the most astonishing things I’ve ever seen was when I attended a MLB baseball game and we bought Club Level seats. We were told as we enter through the club that we could take our seats or stay inside the lounge and watch the game on big screen TVs. It was a beautiful evening, but about 1/3 of the people in our section opted to stay inside. Spend the money, fight the traffic, go to the ball park and watch the game on TV. Go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The last time I was in the St. Louis area, everyone was talking about Cardinal Nation, across the street from Busch stadium, which is much like the lounge you describe. You can watch the game on a huge screen and have all the free food and drink you want — if you’re willing to pay the price. And many fans are.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh dear I too had to laugh but I also see everything that these people miss. Instead of crowd or people watching they are glued to their small screens. Communication has become limited to banal exchanges on Facebook or text. You are expected to have your phone near you at all times … Needless to say I don’t, I forget it’s in my bag sometimes horrors of horrors I forget to take it with me when I’m out. It has its uses but I am not addicted to it which I fear is the danger of them. I have a friend who can’t drive for an hour without checking it. The govt introduced fines for using while driving but instead of decreasing use it has increased four fold. How sad and dangerous. I am glad some of us look at the world through our own eyes and enjoy the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband is always getting after me because I forgot to take my phone with me — and what if something happened? I’ve never wished I had it when I didn’t, but I try to remember it so he won’t stress. Thanks for your interesting comment, Lynne, it reassured me others see things as I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Too funny Janet. I’m glad to see there are others out there who ponder the necessity of all this technology. I’ve never heard of Classmate or Plaxo, but now that you have described them so well I won’t bother. I too am a voyeur on FB hoping to see new pictures of great-grandkids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad my post made you smile, Kayti, because you do it so well as evidenced by your photograph. My husband and I do FB for the photographs, but the only way our grandchildren communicate with us immediately and well is via texting.

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  6. I don’t even know where to start! Too funny! You’ve got so many different topics rolled into one and I could comment on ALL of them, because I can SOOOOO relate to everything you said, but the problem is, I can only type so much because I’m a 2 finger typist and there’s only so much space in your comment section to write everything I have to say…..And what the hell is PLAXO????Sounds like a new planet to me!!!! 🙂 TOO FUNNY, woman!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess Plaxo is a way of keeping track of all your different contacts on all your technology — something I certainly don’t need. I’m glad I made you laugh. Consider it a payback for the chortling episodes I suffer when I read your blog. I’m amazed at how many of my blog friends aren’t that crazy about technology in general.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, right! Like I have SO MANY contacts that I need to keep track of!! If you’re not on my contact list already, then I don’t need to keep “track of you”! I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Love it when it WORKS right and hate it when I can’t figure out how to use it. That’s when I miss my students…they may not have been “academically sharp”, but most of them could master technology and were more than willing to help me out…made them feel competent in something and made me smile…a win/win situation for everyone! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Of the list, only gossip would come close to describing me; and even then, I was always the last to know: the one standing around openmouthed uttering an incredulous “Really!” at news of the latest goings-on.

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  7. My old high school has a Facebook page (or should that be a group?) which I joined and it’s great fun hearing what people are up to and seeing photos of the teachers and prefects we were so in awe of.

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    • I like hearing about my classmates and teachers as well, Susan. My class is having it 55th class reunion next summer, and I plan to attend, if only to discover whether time as wreaked havoc with my former friends the way it has with me.

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  8. I legged it from high school into the world, and have never wished to return. I Facebook to keep up with “Caribou” type friends who are always on the move- I love the good folks who read my blog. I have used google to cheat on the crossword, and my other hobby, the obituaries. Never heard of “Plaxo”, we have a dating thing for farmers. Funny post, thanks Janet.

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  9. You and I were in the same crowd, “I couldn’t see a category for someone who mostly got along and did well — despite suffering occasional bouts of acne…” I was even thinking about that the other day, how I wore bangs to cover the crust of zits across my forehead… Or so I imagined them to be.

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  10. I am dying laughing!

    Janet, you aren’t the only one who despises technology. I recently (as 3 months ago) bought a cheap smartphone, and while I use it… it frustrates me in many ways. I’ve tried to set it up in a way that my third grade brain understands it and can make the most out of it. As for my other technology, I own a laptop. That’s it and that’s quite enough. As far as social media type accounts – no thank you. Being an amateur in the technology world is fine with me.

    Simplicity in life gives you more inspiration where it really matters. I don’t think I’d be a blogger if I was obsessed with social media and checking all my technology 24/7.

    Brilliant post, dear!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Tamara, and that you share my frustrations. I’m going to my family reunion this weekend. I’ll find out whether my brothers found this post as funny as I did; luckily, they all have a sense of humor.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think I would have liked your grandparents; they obviously had good taste in wrestlers. I don’t know much about the rest of the post either, but I’m glad I wrote something that gave you a chuckle.

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  11. I’ll never join the Classmates site. Deep contemplation of what I was like in high school would likely leave me in the fetal position or swilling some hootch in the back bedroom. I got an email from ReadyGraph the other day. With just a quick look at my credit card information, ReadyGraph will reveal to me the information that three people I know have provided the site about my personality. We’re all caught in a giant web of techno-goo, but we have to take the good with the bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve coined a perfect phrase, Joni — techno-goo. I’ve never heard of ReadyGraph and have no intention of ever using the site. I am like Lucie in her comment above. I love technology when it works and hate it when it doesn’t.

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  12. As an absolutely disastrous pupil a classmate site seems to be an absolute horror. I hope I never, ever have to get back in touch….I am as ever impressed by your wide range of topics. Basketball! I hope it was great fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I love basketball, Read on. I’m from a tall family and all my brothers played it, so I had no chance of of not being a fan. I’m surprised that you were a disastrous pupil and not sure I believe it!

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    • I’ve just spent a weekend talking in person with my siblings and their spouses at a family reunion. We all used our technology just enough to navigate an unfamiliar city. Other than that we talked, ate — and took a quick trip to the Buddy Holly Museum. What a joy it has been! Nothing beats face to face communication with those you care about. However, I’d be the first to admit I’d really miss my written conversations with my blog friends if my technology disappeared.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. “LinkedIn” was a constant pest for a year and I curse the person who gave them my name. Prior to my HS reunion I joined Classmates, and three years later I’m still hounded to rejoin. Enough.
    Computer fails are so dang frustrating! The failure is usually a “user error” on my part. Its easier since I’ve accepted the “learning curve” will always be a part of my life.
    But, I consider the internet to be one of the greatest inventions in my lifetime.
    Twenty-five years ago when my daughter was in the Peace Corps, in Papua New Guinea, she felt so isolated and far away. For two years all we had was a one page airmail letter that took 3 weeks to be delivered. Now, I get daily photos and updates from a granddaughter in Italy. Simply amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are bothered by LinkedIn as well. How did you end their siege? I, too, know that if I’m going to live in this world I need to keep learning about technology; my problem is deciding which new bells and whistles are worth my learning time. You are so right about the wonders of the internet. It is an incredible tool, mind boggling, really.

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