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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Parents and Technology

I just saw something posted online poking fun at parents and the internet. Made me think of Mama. She passed away in 2001 when I was still rocking jackets that had been broken down by a phone like this:

except the battery in mine was the size of a Yugo

Mom was just plain fascinated with that phone. She was also a little pissy about it. She thought that the only person so important and needing to be reached at any given time should be addressed as "President" or "Your Highness." Matter of fact, she felt like even a queen needed peaceful bathroom breaks.

Cell phones were extravagant, in Mom's opinion. There was no real purpose for them other than to be showy. Computers, on the other hand, were wonderful. 

I remember when we got our kids their first computer - a Gateway desktop - and my mother would sit with them while they did homework. Homework was pretty much all they were allowed to do on the computer. Mama would watch while they pulled up articles on Encarta. The way she looked on in awe at the rotating maps and scrolling timelines damn near brought tears to my eyes. I had never seen my mother in such a state of wonder. (I got a little bit worried about her when she started checking out the back of the PC as if she thought there were little green men back there operating the machine.)

Well, if Mom was weird-ed out by the phones and computers back then, I'm pretty sure she'd be throwing holy water on the stuff we all have in our homes now. 

Understand that I come from parents who came straight out of the sticks of places like Big Spring, Texas and Hope, Arkansas. I have an aunt, now in her late seventies, who used to believe that if she turned off a radio mid-song, the same song would continue when she turned on the radio three hours later. (True story. I learned this when I stayed with her for a couple of weeks back when I was around thirteen.)

This is not just about my Mama. A lot of you are going to be laughing with me when I tell you that Mama worried that Gameboys might be the work of Satan. If she'd lived to see it, I guess she'd have keeled right over watching us Skype. I don't even want to think of how she'd have felt about people walking around Walmart, chatting to their unseen Bluetooth devices. We probably would have had to have her committed for treatment.

Not to sound like Grandma Kettle myself, but... The other week, I was marveling over the cool gifts my nephew got for his first birthday. The talking broom really cracked me up (D.J. has a thing for sweeping), but the vacuum cleaner his parents got for him was so cool, I wasn't sure it was really a toy.

It's a Dyson. Seriously.

While I was raving over the "realistic" features, I noticed that the damn thing actually works. It has suction and everything. Think I'm lying? Here's the Sam's Club page - though I think D.J.'s came from Costco. I would be mad, but D.J. actually understands how it works. Hey - anything teaching a male to do housework is cool with me.

I try not to, but can't help but be fascinated by some of the stuff I'm seeing when I go into Best Buy. It's getting embarrassing. The first time I played around with a touchscreen computer at Best Buy, I swear I heard a kid whisper, "Get over it, Grandma."

In the old days, I'd be allowed to smack him upside the head for being rude.