Maybe you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but is there hope for your mother?

When I had little kids, 
they enjoyed all of the usual toys. 

Susan & Hannah, ca. 1988
(incidentally, one of us has more hair now and one has less)

Many were the same Fisher Price things we were raised on -- the clock that tick-tocked and played music, the "popcorn popper" that a toddler pushed and it made no end of ear-popping racket (the kind of gift a grandma gives . . . *wink), the Little People with their farm and their house and their parking garage, CandyLand, and the See 'n Say "Farmer Says."  You know, where you pull the string and the pointer in the center spins around and then stops and it says something like, "the cow says 'moooo.'"

So I felt really old the other day 
when I met Lindsay for lunch . . .

She had the cute baby girl she nannies (not yet two) in tow, and her state-of-the art stroller was enough to make me feel like a dinosaur, but what came next was much worse.  I mean I basically understand a stroller, because we had them for our kids. Only they folded up like an umbrella instead of being the size of a small car. 

Anyway, Lindsay was excited because she had a new app for her iPad that she hoped would keep the baby busy while we ate.  I could not imagine giving a baby an iPad, but I was intrigued.  The app basically turned the iPad into a See 'n Say.  The baby could cruise through pictures of animals and it would say the animal's name and make the noise.  She told me the baby had never played with the iPad before (but she can operate Lindsay's phone.)  It was fascinating for me to watch Lindsay show her how to sweep her not-yet-two-year-old finger across the screen to change the pictures and tap it to make it stop on the one she wanted.  She only had to show her once.  And the baby played.  ( For the record, it took my own children a little longer to master pulling the string.)

I was amazed.  But then, my phone has no camera.  My phone only makes phone calls.  It can text too, but there is no keyboard.  And it flips closed.  And I have a cell-phone charm on it (consisting of an antique bottlecap that says "imitation grape soda" and some beads).

Forget the bottlecap, my phone is an antique --   which is perfect because I've always liked antiques. And I love my phone.

I probably started being eligible for a new phone about 6 years ago.  But this one works, so why would I need a new one?  And more importantly, I know how to operate the darn thing.  (At least enough of the features to make phone calls and send texts. My kids say it can do more, but why would I need more?)

But I want to transition to being able to swipe credit cards on my phone (I know, right?!) so now suddenly I need a REAL phone.  It makes me nervous just to think about.  Finally forced to step forward into the future! . . . er, I mean the present.  Chelsea worked at T-Mobile for several years, so she has volunteered to take me and hold my hand.  But first, she's going to reassure me that operating the kind of phone the rest of the world has been using forever is actually within my intellectual reach.

She hands me her android phone to "play with", hoping we can start to make friends before she takes me to the store where I will embarrass her with my stammering and sweaty hands.  And I look at it and I have no idea where to even start. There are no buttons.  

And suddenly I'm like the old person --

who occasionally steps up (in front of me because I've picked the wrong line)
to place an order at McDonald's and asks, 
"What is the difference between a Quarter Pounder and a Big Mac?  
And what comes on a Filet-o-Fish?"


And the young thing running the cash register can't even understand the question.

She's much too young to sing, "two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun,"  but I can hardly restrain myself from busting it out.  (And there's no guarantee I wouldn't go straight into "grab a bucket and mop...")

Who doesn't know the McDonald's menu? 
I mean -- we were raised on it!

But I think the cash-register-girl 
was actually born knowing it. 

All of which brings me back to the baby with the iPad.  For anyone who doesn't believe in evolution, I feel I need offer no further proof.  We don't even need to have a discussion, let alone an argument.  Because the See 'n Say has become an iPad, and the kid running the thing knows exactly what to do with it, even though there is no string . . .


Judy said...

I've had an Android for a little less than a year and couldn't live without it. Before I had my own, I looked at everyone else's smart phones with fear and loathing. I'm sorry to say this (because, really, who needs more gadgets running her life?), but you'll be amazed at how quickly it becomes as much a part of you as your computer is. I hope you do a Smart Phone Update a year from now.

Judy said...

P.S. I LOVE that picture of you and cute Hannah, who looks a lot like her daddy in this picture.

susan m hinckley said...

She looks a lot like her daddy to this day...although thankfully she is no longer bald-ish!

Leenie said...

I DO like the mother and baby photo. You have a wonderful nose. Hope it has recovered from the upgrade.

Everything you say is true about the the good old toys, the fear and frustration of upgrading and the adaptability of the the young. Makes me wonder what else babies could do if handed the right stuff.

BTW I think some of those strollers the size of a luxury sports car are a little over the top.

Michele said...

Yeah, I keep reminding my geek son that I was the one that taught him to use a mouse. He surpassed me in computer talent long ago. These time are a changing. I feel ya!

John Beck said...

Susan, get an iphone. it will change your life and will also instruct you to use an ipad, at least beginning instruction. Just purchased my iphone a couple of months ago through AT&T. 49.00 if you select the iphone3. Will do a perfectly fine job, this told me by a nephew who is a certified Mac expert. Ok, then. Happy phoning. John

susan m hinckley said...

Don't hold your breath, but someday I will not only own such a phone but will use it to make contact with the outside world. Someday.

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