Technologically Challenged

When the electronic age began to pick up momentum in the public, we were amused by it.  New gadgets and wizardry were mostly expensive toys or luxuries.  I remember getting a private line telephone, a luxury that freed us from the intrusive party line.  When I went to Expo 67, Bell demonstrated video phones where we could see the person we were talking to and we didn’t like it!

I let technology get way ahead of me with this mindset, which wasn’t all that bothersome.  I lived happily in the dark ages for a long period of time.  I was able to function.  I had my share of crappy cell phones with limited range, far too small screens and buttons, and never used them much. They were an interesting thing to have, but not a necessity.


I was going to visit my brother.  I haven’t traveled in decades.  The trip required 3 connecting flights.  As is the case, quite frequently, I now understand, my first connecting flight was delayed.  The airport was under construction, so I was not surprised that the one pay phone I found was not working.  No worries.  Lots of time left. I can call him when I get to Denver if I am going to be late.

I am going to be late.  12 hours late!


There are rows and rows and rows! of phones at the Denver airport.  And not one of them work.  I know.  I tried them all.

So I see a big guy sporting an even bigger cowboy hat and a badge that said Information.

“Am I doing something wrong?” I ask him about the phones.

“Nope.  None of them work.  Haven’t worked in months.  Is your phone dead?”

“I don’t have one.”

He shrugs and walks past me.

Around me everyone has their face illuminated by blue phone light.  I don’t even know how to use one.

I walk over to a man with his nose to the screen.  “Kind sir.  I am in a fix.  I will pay you $20 to make a phone call for me.”

He looks at me, blinks in disbelief.  He hands me his phone “Go ahead” he says “You don’t have to pay me.”

I explain it is a long distance call.  He says that doesn’t matter.  I hand the phone back to him.

“Can you dial it for me? – I don’t know how.”

He gives me a silly grin as if I am joking, but dials the number. “Just talk into the screen” he is half serious.  He stands there gawking at me, suspecting some kind of prank.  As fortunes have it, the line is busy.  “Can you try another number?”

Mission accomplished, I get to leave a message. He waits as I collect my suitcase, give him a heartfelt thank you, and head for the nearest eatery.  He looks around, waiting for some TV host and camera crew to show up, tell him it was all just a gag and can we use it on our show?

My unfortunate brother had to page a reply to me at the airport and pick me up at midnight, instead of noon.  And oh yeah, he waited quite a while at the airport for me, didn’t get my message until he went back home.

“Get this” he shows me the blue screen when I arrive.

I comply.

Now I’m hooked on the thing.  How did I ever manage without one?!

One Reply to “Technologically Challenged”

  1. Pat, you are one entertaining writer. Your sense of humour is refreshing. I can relate to some of your troubles but I get pissed off while you look at the funny side.
    However, you did make me think about the old days and how we grew up so much differently than young people now. Here’s what I came up with this morning.

    In school when I was little
    Class seemed like a riddle
    They tried to teach us math and biology.
    Two times three ain’t ten
    Sit down and try again
    I guess I needed your technology

    You use a machine that was invented much later
    I never heard about your calculator
    I counted on fingers right down to my toes
    And when I ran out, I counted my nose
    Couldn’t get anything right.

    But one thing I learned a way back then
    Was to open a notebook and pick up a pen
    And write something down whatever it was
    The reason was simple. It’s only because
    We never learned how to type

    A cell was a prison. It wasn’t a phone
    A text was a schoolbook I never took home
    Even microwave ovens had not come along
    We rolled up the windows in a car

    If you moved away I would write you a letter
    Sometimes I think that the old ways were better
    Appreciating each other much more
    Now you type lol on your little contraption
    Scroll down the screen becomes your biggest action
    If you ever lost it, you’d end up in traction
    Banging your heads on the floor

    I guess if I thought about what I am saying
    The best of my childhood was outside and playing
    Even on days that were snowing or raining
    We figured out how to have fun
    I look around at young people these days
    They seem to be walking around in a daze
    Texting each other to figure out ways
    Of avoiding their chances to run

    So play with each other. Learn how to laugh
    Walk through a forest and find your own path
    Find some old logs and build a cool raft
    Or pick your own teams and play ball
    But what am I saying? I must be dreaming
    The kids are at home seeing what new is streaming
    And I’m growing older and tired of scheming
    I guess that they do have it all

    And that is all I will say about that

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