At the risk of sounding like an alta cocker* before my time, I confess that I long for the days of a basic television set. (I’ve been told by reliable sources that only older people still watch television on a television but that’s a whole other story.) I have surround sound, Bluetooth, some kind of ray and On Demand. My television can stream, record, connect to my computer and play dvds. It is a smart TV. I hate it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for smart, I just don’t understand why smart can’t also be simple. I want my remote to turn the set on and off, change channels and adjust volume…period, end of story. It has gotten to the point where I feel the need for a degree in technology just to watch reruns of NCIS. It’s not fair. I am intimidated by my own TV. It is an objective fact that anyone north of 50 does not have a natural relationship with technology. It is a forced, trying and complicated affair at best. Recently I’ve encountered a Roku. Two hours and forty-two buttons later, I was no closer to watching a Seinfeld rerun than I was to dating Jerry himself. I had only succeeded in creating an overwhelming desire to throw the damn thing out the window and accept my fate of forever relying on Facebook for my digital entertainment.
I still have a clamshell-style cell phone. While only 18-months-old, people look at it in awe like a relic from another century. It is tiny and fits anywhere. I can make calls around the world and receive them. I can text, check emails and take bad photos. It does exactly what I need it to do. I have never butt dialed anyone ever. The battery lasts for almost a week before needing a charge. And it is “unstealable” (having lost it several times in public places and being always able to retrieve it, trust me when I tell you that nobody wants it even if it’s handed to them). And it’s cute. I have been resisting the purchase of a smart phone longer than anyone else I know (except maybe for my friend Marcy but that’s another story as well). I admit that I am afraid of getting one.
I break out in a cold sweat over the anticipation of learning another form of technology that does much more in life than I myself am capable of doing. I just want my phone to be a phone. Is that asking too much? I do not need, let alone desire, my phone to be my surrogate friend, a GPS or my creative outlet. I have visions of my smart phone ringing and in my inability to figure out how to connect to the call, I throw a six-hundred-dollar piece of equipment into the East River and swear to move to a rural area in South Dakota. It’s not pretty. So although I know I’m swimming upstream (along with my as yet unpurchased phone) in the words of the great Harry Ruby, “some find it pleasant dining on pheasant, those things rolls off my knife, just serve me tomatoes and mashed potatoes, give me the simple life.”
*yiddish for an old person