Middle age plus

Friday, January 2, 2004

Gifts that were given this Christmas would have astonished any of our parents or grandparents. The things that even little children are able to do with some of the new gadgets is beyond comprehension to those of us who hail from a few years back. The idea that a child could get a gift that would allow her to send a picture over the telephone to her grandmother across the state amazes us. But what amazes us more is that this little child can not only receive such a gift, but that she can pick it up and within a few second be master of it.

Sure, you just push this thing here, put in your number, take your picture and there you are, Grandma.

Another thing that amazes me is that anyone would want other people to see what they look like when they are talking on the phone. The dashes to the phone with a towel clutched to the body; the picture of a messy kitchen after feeding a large family; or, just any bad hair day are better kept in the confines of personal environment and not sent miles away.

That is my idea anyway! We Middle Age Plus people have another problem. By the time we have learned how to operate the new gimmicks we receive as gifts, they have become obsolete and we are asked to learn another routine. It's not that we can't learn this technology. It is just that we don't want to learn it. We were doing fine with the last new thing we received. Enough already! An example of this happened this week to my sister, Ellen. She picked up her own phone in her house in Lebanon to make a call. She was shocked to hear me, her little sister, talking rather loudly on the phone.

She hadn't called me, nor had I called her, but here she was hearing my voice from miles away. I kept on talking in spite of the fact that she was trying to answer me, call to me, or let me know she was hearing me.

After several moments with no response to her from me, she became worried that something was wrong. Did her sister need her? Was this a message from above? What is going on here? To make it more puzzling, my voice stopped from time to time but she never heard another voice. In fear, she hung up her phone and using her other line, called our home. Our visiting daughter-in-law told her that four of our family members, including me, had just left to drive to Springfield to visit Lester's siblings. Joan assured Ellen that I was okay and that she guessed my cell phone had hit her speed dial number by mistake and she was overhearing what was being said in the car.

When I heard this story I realized I had begun the trip by plugging my cell phone into the cigarette lighter and laying it in my lap. We went down Highway 43 where my phone does not always pick up the signal clearly and I imagine I was talking to our two daughters in the back seat, causing my voice to drown out any other sounds since I needed to speak loudly for them to hear. I do have Ellen on my speed dial and when I looked at the phone later, I wondered why her name showed.

I assumed a great grandchild had played with it in the house before we left, and didn't worry about it.

We hear about people hearing voices from the grave, or voices in their heads, but Ellen was hearing her sister, but not understanding her, over her own phone. Somehow, she has no desire to get a cell phone of her own.