Sunday, August 23, 2015

Learning a New Trick


Sunday Gazette 08/23/15, Page FO2 
Learning a New Trick
By Peggy Toney Horton 
Special to the Sunday Gazette-Mail 

For a long time now, my husband and I have wondered: what is all the hullaballoo about cell phones? Everywhere you go – to the mall, grocery store, or just taking a walk in your neighborhood, you pass people – youngsters and adults alike – with   their heads down, looking at a little device in their hands called a “smart phone.” Some will look up long enough to smile or say, “Hi,” but others never look up – don't even see you. One wonders why they don’t run into trees or telephone poles, or walk in front of moving vehicles.
“What are they doing?” you ask.
It seems that literally everyone is so caught up in texting that they can’t go anywhere without their texting device. If you suggest to a family member or friend that she might leave her smart phone behind while the two of you go shopping, you’re told in no uncertain terms, “I couldn’t do that!
Someone may try to reach me.”
When did everyone become so important?
I remember a day when you could be gone from home from daylight till dusk and never receive a phone call. Texting wasn’t even a reality then. If there were any important events that you needed to hear about, you heard about them when you returned. And the world went right on turning.  Most everything could wait until you got home.
Although there was that one time that my youngest daughter called the Sears store she knew I’d be shopping in, and had me paged to tell me she was in the ER because she had cut her hand badly while washing a glass! When my name was called on the PA system, followed by the message, “Call your daughter immediately,” I must admit, I panicked! However, by the time I got to the ER, she’d been taken care of, which proved she could have handled it without giving her mother heart failure!
Nobody had ever heard of a smart phone then!
Now that I’ve had my rant, it’s confession time. A few months ago, I became the proud (?)  owner of a Smart Phone!
It wasn’t something I needed – or even wanted for that matter, but for the past year, my grown children have been complaining because their mother was “out of the loop!” In order to communicate with me, they had to pick up a phone, push a button and wait for me to answer – and give up at least twenty minutes of their precious time to talk. Sometimes they could get away with e-mailing, but even that took time away from other things they’d rather be doing.
What an inconvenience!
I’m not dissing my children; really, I’m not! They’re kind, generous, caring children and I love them dearly!  I understand that times have changed drastically in the past ten to twenty years.
 But everyone is so busy these days. I’d give half my life if I could pick up a phone and talk to my mother for twenty minutes. Or five!
Ah, well, as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” So that’s what I’m trying to do. I say “trying” because this texting thing is not as easy as it looks! I type every day on the computer with no trouble at all, but have you ever really looked at the size of one of those keyboards on the new phones? They’re tiny! My fingers just don’t fit. Most of my words come out looking like “mstz[p or xtorn’t” The first time I tried to show off my texting ability to my daughter, I wrote, “This iw fim” (This is fun), “Loo” (Lol). 
Trying to sign off with my son, I typed, “Lat” the first time, “Latre” the second time and, while I was working on the third try, he helped me out by writing, “Later.”
"Yeah, tha'st it," I wrote.
So, as you can see, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but they all tell me to keep practicing.
“You’ll get it,” they say.
And I text back, “I hopr yor rigjt!”
Peggy Toney Horton lives in Nitro and can be reached at  
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Charleston Gazette