On the Way to Anywhere

The internet is in a good mood today. What was I thinking when we invited this thing to live with us? Actually, Bernie issued the initial invitation, without even consulting me. At first it was pretty manageable. It didn’t take up much space and spoke only when it was asked a question. When I took up my career in Early Childhood Family Education, it provided some good resources that I could use in my parenting classes. I found that it was more convenient than running off to the library all the time, even though that was a loss of sorts.

 E-mail was quicker than snail mail so seemed like a good idea for a while. But we soon learned that communicating without facial expressions or voice fluctuations can be lethal. People were always misinterpreting their correspondents’ statements. When you have to write the words “ha ha” or “tee hee” after a statement, it is time to pick up the phone or hop a plane. Unfortunately, people didn’t go back to old ways to communicate. They either let relationships burn or they learned to stay superficial when writing their e-mails.

There came a time when they stopped making word processors other than those that lived inside of a computer. This really screwed me up because when I got mad enough at the computer to want to throw it out the window it would remind me that I can’t write without one, unless with pen and paper, and publishers don’t accept hand-written manuscripts any more. In fact, some won’t accept manuscripts that come on paper any more…internet only, please. Besides, my handwriting has so deteriorated over the years, no one can read it. I was trapped.

Even if it weren’t for the word processor need, Bernie would never give up the computer because of the games. For his retirement my kids bought him a Game Boy which has games you can play in a little box that you can carry around. He never used it. He liked the computer better.

Facebook…yikes. Now I keep touch with my family pretty much through Facebook. It is like living in a barracks. If you want to get personal…everybody knows what is going on. I have a friend whose family really came down on her for telling too much on Facebook. Fortunately, everyone in the world came to her defense. Private communication can still happen if you know how to do it and I sort of do. But none of this replaces face to face, or voice to voice. But the younger generation has settled in. They use the old fashioned methods rarely. And they use snail mail never.

Now I blog, in fact now I am blogging, right now, right this minute. My son introduced me to blogging 1 ½ years ago. He set me up and gave me pages of instructions. I absorbed about 10% of those and started on my way. I don’t regret it. I like blogging. I don’t think people read it much, though. Once Chris liked a blog I wrote on parenting and posted it on his Facebook page…my readers jumped from 8 to 50 that day. But I keep doing it because I am writing.

Maybe someday I will be able to find the other 90% of what Chris tried to teach me, maybe not. Truth be known, there is a resistance in me. I don’t like where this is going. I still want to throw the computer out the window sometimes. I miss all the old ways of communicating. I want a paper letter from a grandchild like my mother used to get from my kids. I want to get a phone call or have someone stop my my house on their way to anywhere.

Connections

We have been unable to get an internet connection for the past four days. Bernie checked and learned that it might be our little Clearwire tower or its cord.  So we got a new one and that didn’t work either. I am at my daughter’s right now where I can get on line, finally. During this interim I have been unable to blog. Actually, I was able to write blogs; I’ve just not been able to release it into my blog sight.

What I found myself missing was my other internet activities, Facebook and e-mail. I don’t do texting, but many of my friends have one of those super-duper i-phones and will get my e-mails on their phone, so I am able to use e-mail almost like texting. They have a disadvantage because I only get their messages when I go to my computer. But I can pester them any time. People are getting in the habit of keeping their phones handy all the time and checking the messages often.

Being unable to use it, I realize that Facebook is the way I have been keeping track of my family members. All of my children and older grandchildren and a few more distant relatives are on Facebook.  Some use Facebook every day…all day. When I talk to them on the phone, one will tell me about what is happening and often I already know because I read about it. Facebook is changing how we communicate. But Facebook doesn’t really tell me how people are. For the most part, one has to read between the what information to figure out how people are doing on the inside and the inside is what concerns me most about the people I love.

When I see what people write on Facebook, I will comment once I a while, but my small sentences are usually part of larger conversations with people I don’t even know. These conversations help me to identify what people believe about life and what is important to them. All good stuff, but a poor substitute for personal interchanges.

The above is what Bernie and I talked about the other morning and it is often a topic of conversation when we get together with folks our age.  Most of my friends don’t like Facebook. Some don’t use it at all. I tell them I like it so that I can learn what is happening day to day with my family members. When I see any of their postings, and I like that extra bonus of knowing when they posted, I at least know that they are safe and sound for the moment. But we elders admit to one another that face-to-face and voice contacts are happening less and less. The internet communication system may be quite satisfying for my children’s and grandchildren’s generations, but those of us in the elder generation are starting to feel lonely.

Two Little Lights

It was not easy to find my way here this morning. One little light on the Clearw’re box and I might as well just play solitaire…or I can put my ideas on Word to hold them for later sharing. Two little lights mean I can get to the internet but it is selective and hesitant. Facebook won’t be longer than maybe three or four message. I can go to g-mail, but the first email message I try to delete jams the computer. Forget being able to get a blog out. Three or four lights is heavenly. I go where I want…like a bird in flight on a sunny day.

Today there are two lights. I guess I won’t be able to blog…but wait…I managed to get to my working page. How did I do that? That is my problem. When I accidentally do something that works, I forget what I did. I suppose because I didn’t really expect whatever I did would really work.

So here I am. I have lots to share, but the kids are here and I have a friend coming by shortly. So I am going to settle this morning on the quote of the day I received from Grapevine via e-mail:

“I no longer pray to have my fear removed. Today, I pray that my love grows bigger than my fear and that my humility becomes greater than my shame.”

I don’t see the relevance to my problems with the internet…yet…but the day is only beginning.

Chickens and Satelites

“Be thankful for the little things,” Bernie just said to me when I asked how many lights are lit on our little wireless box. “Two”, I was told. So I am back on the internet after four days, but things are still slow.

I don’t understand all this. What makes our satellite close down at times. Does it get off course? I used to think that when the weather is cloudy, the clouds get in the way of the radio waves. It messes the radio and the TV sometimes. But that is old thinking, I suppose. I don’t know what kind of waves a computer sends out or takes in. How do all these messages travel about?

I am thinking about the old days when there was a central telephone station where women sat in front of a board and moved wires around connecting people so they could talk to one another on their phones. I imagine that there is this connecting place in the sky and my connector has to go pee. Or worse, she is on maternity leave and the replacement doesn’t really know what to do so she just sits there painting her nails. Meanwhile, I can’t blog, I can’t check my e-mail or Facebook nor can I order the book that my book club will be reading next month.  All my people are probably wondering what happened to me. No one has called, so I suppose they aren’t all that worried.

Last night my neighbor left us a message. His chickens are taking a break, he said. They give him and his wife only two or three a day. So it is Sunday morning and no eggs. So I guess we are going out to breakfast.

Getting Old

I was driving to St. Cloud last week and had an idea for a blog so I pulled out the little recorder that I’d purchased a while back. I held it in my hand and glanced at it several times. I could not for the life of me figure out how to use it. Later I searched for the directions but they weren’t in any of the usual places I store directions for things. No use trying to remember what my great idea was. It is gone now.

I wanted to store a web site so that I could go to it later but forgot how to do it even though it is less than a month ago since my daughter taught me how to do it. The language has changed. “Favorites” worked for me for a long time. I don’t know the new words. I don’t have the icons I used to have on my old computer. I can’t even find the sites I have already saved.

There is a place in my computer where pictures are stored but I can’t remember how to put pictures into it or take them out.

I wanted to text a friend the other day and found I couldn’t do it.

I bought a new foot for my sewing machine a while back that helps in quilting layers of fabric. I can’t figure out how to attach it. It came without instructions.

Getting old sucks.