Tag Archives: Computers

Things Have Changed, and I’m Glad

I finally stopped refusing senior discounts. (Who was I kidding?)

Now, I find it tempting to diss the present and reverence the “good old days.” One morning, a Grouchy Old Gal stared at me from the mirror. Did I really want her to stay?

Instead, I booted her out and listed things I like about 2021. Plus a few I do not miss from the past.

  • First, permanent press is a gift from God. My mother spent hours starching and ironing my puff-sleeved dresses, dresses I wore while emptying mud puddles. I iron now only when I can find mine. The best thing about a no-iron worldview? Though manufacturers lie that their clothes don’t require ironing, everyone pretends it’s true.
  • In this millennium, we enjoy a whole new excuse for playing hooky: the computers are down.
  • Email is cheaper, simpler and faster than snail mail. Unless the computers are down.
  • Microwaves, once a figment of sci-fi imaginations, have forever banished the sinking realization: “Ack! I forgot to defrost the meat!” Okay, so they sometimes produce meals the consistency of cement, with comparable nourishment. Still, speedy microwaves helped feed my skinny physician husband at all hours. They removed gunky warm-up pans from my kitchen’s décor. Nowadays, a microwave suits our lifestyle — that of college students without food service.
  • Few potlucks still feature 15 kinds of marshmallow-Jell-O salad.
  • I’ll take Susan Boyle’s singing, as opposed to Carol Channing’s, anytime. (See YouTube — another current convenience that can take us down Memory Lane, as well as make us glad we don’t live there anymore!)
  • Thanks to technology, we no longer miss favorite programs or movies. We need not suffer withdrawal symptoms when leaving before finding out whodunit.
  • Being a grandma is way more fun than being a mom.
  • In a related thought, little boys’ clothes today are much cuter than those in 1970. This grandma lauds that aspect of gender equality, as I have six grandsons.
  • In a somewhat related thought, I appreciate bicycle helmets. Seat belts. Even kids’ car seats that demand an engineering degree and an acrobat’s body to buckle.
  • Few people drive Pintos anymore.
  • Blow-dryers and curling irons have replaced the overnight torture of brush rollers and orange juice cans. Guys, if you don’t “get” the orange juice cans, ask your wives how they prettied up for Saturday night during the 1960s. Check online photos — if you dare.
  • Men rarely get permanents today. During the ’70s, much of the male population appeared to have been replaced by alien poodles. Wearing leisure suits. And platform shoes.
  • Cigarette commercials now feature cancer victims rather than cool cowboys. In restaurants, puffing and blowing occur only when your food’s too hot.
  • I applaud painless antiseptics that soothe cuts, as opposed to this-is-gonna-make-you-scream Mercurochrome.
  • Experts now assert that chocolate and coffee are good for us.
  • I hate to admit it, but cell phones do keep us safe on the road. Also, if not for cell phones, thousands of husbands might still be wandering Meijer’s aisles, seeking the correct brand of pickles.
  • No more waiting for photos to develop. No more paying for them, either.
  • We now realize God can say both “you” and “thee.”
  • Homemade, homegrown and handcrafted items — food, clothing, even coffins — have become special again.
  • Using an effortless stain stick beats scrubbing grass stains with an old toothbrush. Just ask my kids.
  • Finally, no one sings about yummy love in their tummies anymore.

That last extinction alone brightens the 2021 landscape.

My late father, who loved classical music, would have agreed.

Perhaps I inherited my outlook from Dad. He disliked many modern trends, but he also declared the “good old days” a myth. Dad plowed too many fields behind a mean mule to romanticize the past. Riding a John Deere mower was way better.

Recalling Jim Crow laws in the South — written and unwritten — he celebrated dining with both white and African-American friends without fear.

Occasionally, Dad allowed Grouchy Old Guy to stick around.

I sometimes hang out with Grouchy Old Gal.

But mostly, I celebrate life here and now.

And welcome all the senior discounts.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What don’t you miss from the “good old days,” and what are you thankful for now?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Children + Computer = Unique Zoom Meetings.

O Lord, even in my empty nest, I find working at home a challenge. But, OMG, please give my daughter and other parents braving the joys of computer-savvy children the courage to carry on. Help the kids survive, too.

Machines Versus Me

Image by Pam Carter from Pixabay.

For me, the machine takeover began when a Coke machine stole my dime. Big, red and shiny, it resembled a metallic Santa Claus. Yet its friendly exterior hid a chilly heart.

Decades later, I am still at odds with machines. Especially those that tell me what to do.

Image by OltreCreativeAgency from Pixabay.

Many contemporary machines keep their requests polite. My car dings apologetically when I forget to turn off its lights. My husband’s truck, however, peals like Big Ben, even when its belly bulges with $45 worth of gas.

“Don’t you dare talk to me in that tone!”

Does it listen to me? Never.

My Keurig coffee maker smarts off, too. Sure, its screen requests, “More water, please,” but it flashes an on-off light that betrays sarcasm. Reminds me of kids who demand ironed gym clothes, please (eye rolls).

The Information Age forces computers on us, sneaky machines that pose huge challenges to those who consider Ziploc® bags high tech. Don’t trust those friendly log-in welcomes. Do computers ever eat files like “My Worst Golf Scores” or “Breakfasts I Ate in 1993?” No-o-o. Mine devours IRS records and my newly finished novels. When feeling really rowdy, it emails eye-popping website links to my relatives.

I first encountered self-checkout machines at a grocery. A Voice welcomed me enthusiastically, then instructed me to scan my first item: a Death by Chocolate cake for my daughter’s college graduation. I found the UPC symbol on the cover’s bottom. Rats.

“Scan the first item and place it in the bag.” No “please.”

“I’d have to flip it over.” I held out my item for the machine to see. “It doesn’t fit in the bag. It’s a cake. An expensive cake!”

Image by Fawaz Sharif from Pixabay.

Now the ominous Voice demanded, “Scan the first item. Place it in the bag, or else.”

“I’ll bet you wouldn’t if it was your daughter’s cake!” I swung a fist at the monitor.

I’d swear it ducked.

“If you had half a brain, you could do this,” the Voice boomed.

I haven’t visited that store since. The restraining order might have something to do with that. …

I’ve heard self-checkouts now have better manners. Though with my luck, I’ll use one related to that first cake-hater. And wear the next cake I buy.

All this began with that long-ago Coke machine. I occasionally encounter its thieving descendants and fight the childhood urge to spit at them. See, machines can’t do that! Instead, I check coin returns. Once I found a quarter. Given inflation, the machine didn’t repay me for its ancestor’s larceny. But it tried.

I smiled and patted its shiny red side. That’s something machines can’t do yet, either.

Image by Stone WLP from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are machines your friends or enemies?