Gratitude Sunday: Call Me

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.”
Ambrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary (satire)

Sunday Haiku
Cloud, sun, breeze, more cloud,
cold, wind, dark cloud, rain, so cold,
snow flurry, sun, done.

Sunday Musings
Technology has been the bane of my existence all my adult life. I’ve spent many hours crying in this love/hate relationship. It has made me a life-long learner, at least.

I straddle two completely different eras. I come from the time when food was made from scratch and butchering often took place at home, half my friends’ families didn’t even own a television, phones were party lines (shared!), long distance calls were charged by the minute, the only way to get privacy on a phone call was to stretch the phone cord into the garage and speak as quietly as possible. Research for schoolwork was done at a brick and mortar building called a library that contained paper books and the knowledge of the world, and we walked to get there.

My first computer was a TI-99 from Texas Instruments. It was a pyramid scheme where they wanted us first-in-buyers to sell the computer units to our friends. Of course the computer needed all sorts of add-ons to actually function, modems, routers, additional hardware, software, etc, and that’s how the company (not Texas Instruments, but the shysters) made its money. Once we sold the initial unit to our friends they needed all the extra stuff to make it run. We bought our computer at the discount price and told the company to take a flying leap; we just wanted the sale price on the unit. Wasn’t but a couple of months before TIs were available in retail outlets like Radio Shack and the shyster company went bust; had we followed their program we would have lost out as well. At least we had our one computer in hand and it worked.

The first word processor I used was so clumsy. I worked diligently to teach myself how to make it work. It was so laborious writing long-hand was still simpler. Each new package of word processing software meant days spent increasing my learning curve. I’m self taught, no dollars for classes, and usually stuff comes with a manual. Reading is good.

I used to write and brainstorm with pen and paper. I realized, with no transcriber at my beck and call, I was doubling my work when typing the hand written drafts onto the computer, and then I’d still spend time re-writing, editing, and proofreading on the computer. I was long done with typewriters, though my collection of used typewriters is enviable. I learned to write and brainstorm directly on the computer only after the software became halfway as accomplished as my brain. I’m not sure it saves time to compose on computer, but this old dog can and continues to learn new tricks, and I have fewer scribbled scraps of paper lying around.

When my sister turned 50 a few years back I had found a copy of National Geographic from her birth month and year. The advertisement on the inside back cover was about the new innovation of corner telephone booths in every urban neighborhood. We showed the picture around to the party as each person proceeded to pull out their cell phone. I laughed because I didn’t own a cell phone yet. Some of my nieces and nephews have never had anything other than a cell; they don’t know the joys of a land line.

Today there is a cell phone in every purse and pocket. They are great for emergencies as this old dog does not like to be stranded at the roadside when the car breaks down in the rain. Now most of those neighborhood corner phone booths have been removed, cell phones are a societal necessity. However, in certain social situations I think cells should be temporarily banned, such as family parties or dinners (talk to each other!); in cars (or use a truly hands-free method and unless voice activated there is no such thing as hands-free texting); at certain restaurants, art venues, and performances; I could go on, but boring and another essay.

All that said to announce my latest techno-ditz challenge. I kept getting information from my service provider they were not going to support my 4 year old phone any longer. In my life I have learned one must read every piece of mail and information that comes in; sometimes advertisements look like the real thing, and sometimes the real thing looks like advertisements. So when this information started arriving, I read and I researched; sometimes the information is a ploy to get you to spend your money, and when it comes to my money you have to prove to me why I have to spend it. I didn’t want to give up my phone unless I absolutely had to.

Being from that older era I am, and from the DNA of depression era ancestors, I think things should last forever if you take care of them. Cars and washers and water heaters shouldn’t break. If they do I should have the parts lying around to fix them and a handy-man in my pocket to do so (I don’t). Over the last 70 years the attitude of reusing everything changed to one of disposability. Re-use and recycle is in vogue again. It never should have left.

I do what I can. I am one person. I make only the impact I make, and I can share what I find with others who might use the information. Or not. My small choices build when others make small choices too. It’s not like we can make a hugely significant difference like a corporation or industry who changes its processes to protect people rather than to just increase their profits.

I digress.

My phone company wasn’t lying. My phone was going to fail whenever they decided to stop the service and since I have Murphy’s luck I had to jump ahead of disaster.

Et voilà. I own a new phone.

I’ve had only four cell phones. I insist, from an old woman’s point of view, on keeping my land-line. If all hell breaks loose maybe one of the three phone choices in this house will work.

My first two phones were hand-me downs. The hubster got one for when he is out fishing alone, in case he needed to call for help or rescue. If hubster could afford to be one of those folks who buy new technology the minute it’s released he would. He can’t, so he does his research to get the best bang for his buck, and waits a while til prices come down to a reasonable amount. When he upgraded, so did I by getting his old phone.

I’m not married to my phone, never have been. When I worked, many co-workers would carry their phones in their pockets and they’d be ringing all day long. I locked mine in my locker. I figured if the news was something my family had to share, family had my work numbers and could get me through the work channels. Tragedy or sorrow always comes from family getting hold of you at work. Anything other than that can wait.

During hubster’s next to last upgrade six years ago he said the hand-me down wasn’t good enough, and insisted I buy a phone similar to his; it took me two years. The purchase was a good thing because he could tune me in to the phone reception on our car radio. One button live talk. That’s my speed. I don’t even fuss with the radio station or the heat settings while in motion. When I’m driving, I’m driving, and conversations will be kept to a minimum as well, thank you very much. I’ve had enough crashes to last for the rest of my lifetime and those were before the advent of cell phones. You just can’t be too careful when behind the wheel of a one ton murder machine wailing down the road at 50 miles an hour.

Again last year hubster decided he needed an upgrade, saved up his money, and got a new phone. I didn’t need the hand-me-down, mine was still fine, worked fine. I’m pretty basic: I’d learned to make calls and keep a contact list, take pictures with it, how to text, and how to use a couple apps like Safeway where if you are savvy you can download coupon savings on shelf and in-store. That is, until Safeway and Fred Meyers upgraded their apps and required a more expensive phone to support them. That’s elitist behavior and gave me one more reason to get on my high horse and not buy every year’s new phone.

However, if your service provider suddenly announces your service will no longer be supported, it’s do-or-die time to be doing research and getting a new phone. I don’t need fancy stuff, I cannot care less if I can talk to the darn phone. I need to call family and friends, I need to text, and occasionally I need to call for roadside service. Once again I went for the basics, and even though I skipped the bells and whistles it’s still a handful of tricks.

Despite the claim all my contacts and pictures would be transferred, that did not happen. I had taken the time to upload all my pictures to my laptop, and hand write all my contact numbers. I didn’t mind the pictures not transferring but I thought it a bit redundant (or in this case I mean stupid) for the contact numbers not to transfer. I mean what did I expect after the two days it took to activate the phone. Two days! Now that’s fast technology for you (said facetiously). Two hours would be the maximum time I would expect, but what do I know? I’ve been crying over technology for 40 years; learning is best retained with tears it seems, and one thing I’ve learned is most projects, technology or otherwise, always take longer than projected because of those lovely bumps in the road.

It’s been a week of learning, as if I don’t have enough to still learn and do in this world. The phone is now activated, I can call and receive calls (I kept the same number, one thing that makes it all a little easier), I can text and receive texts, I have uploaded the app (application/website/whatever, seems all of technology is about reducing language) for my car insurance and the roadside assistance number is prominently displayed. Tackling Safeway and Fred Meyers next. Or I might try my local lending library; that’s always a good app to have.

Hubster thinks I should be having fun playing with my new phone. It’s a tool, not a toy. I have plenty (an abundance!) of tool/toys: my laptop, the KindleFire my sis gave me, my big screen TV, and I have no need to take a screen of any size into the bathroom to watch a movie. I have other business there.

So, hubster is charged with the next task of getting me synchronized with the hands-free radio in the car. His car, his radio, his knowledge. Poor thing, sometimes he can’t avoid doing tasks that are for and about me. After 45 years together, he better be getting over it.

New Year, new decade, new phone, new knowledge. We are off to a good start.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – This cold weather is not fooling Mother Nature who is preparing for spring with tiny green hyacinth heads springing from her buried warmth. Pale green lilac buds aren’t fooled either. I keep a dish of water outside with rocks for bees and birds, shiny with ice for them to skate on. Looking for color in all the right places: the convergence of the fence with shades of green mosses and gray lichens. A gathering of fronds, colorful bits and pieces of the trees around my neighborhood.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Finished Ken Burns’s Country Music (2019, rated PG) a documentary and history of the evolution of country music from the early 20th century. All music is connected. I grew up on country music and liked it well enough, but I remember the first time I heard Janis Joplin sing Kris Kristofferson’s song Me and Bobbie McGee. Her voice was so raw and so real, and the story felt palpable, in your skin, on the back of your neck. That’s country, that’s rock, that’s soul, that’s music that changes the cells in your body with its vibrations. Listening to all those hours of music my brain has been re-countrified and I wake up in the morning with those tunes in my head. It’s a good thing. * Westward The Women (1951, not rated), with Robert Taylor. This old black and white film is one of the first significant feminist films. A group of women defy the odds and go to California by wagon train in 1851 basically as mail order brides; they prevail. Included is one of the most interesting commentaries I’ve encountered: a verbal analysis of the director, the scenes, the feminism, the photography and photographers overlying the movie. It enables the commentator to point out scenes, points in photography, dialogue, or characters in real time as the movie progresses. Quite a feat in timing to write your analysis to coordinate with the timing of the movie and a fascinating presentation of critique.

Currently ReadingHollow Kingdom (2019, fiction) by Kira Jane Buxton. Just when you thought you were safe from zombie gore, there it is smack in the middle of the humor. Deep breath, set jaw, read on to the next witticism. * Blowout (2019, non-fiction world politics and the oil industry) by Rachel Maddow. One of those books where the more I read I more I know I don’t know. My needs are simple, I want to pay my bills and mortgage and taxes. I have no concept of one million dollars, these people deal in billions and hold other peoples’ lives and the state of the planet in their hands. Frightening.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Getting the last of the coats behind the front door relocated to the coat closet.
  • The hubster having a project outside the house so I was able to get some stealth cleaning done.
  • Those five minute work windows, a blessing and a curse.
  • Having the door open for a few minutes while I was dusting. The house and I really needed the fresh air; I’ve been closed up too long this winter.
  • Getting some dust busted from a long unseen corner.
  • Getting the last of the kitchen walls and cupboards washed.
  • Deciding not to put the kitchen wall stuff back up where it was.
  • Taking my time to decide what I want to put up on the kitchen walls. I could (think about it!) even have a theme. Like strawberries. Or Coca-Cola. Or both.
  • The Snowpocalypse that was predicted and did not happen. Not that I have to go any where.
  • Having the few extra dollars to be able to budget out a new phone before I lost service on my old one.
  • Cardigans. I like sweaters that don’t squeeze my neck, and I can adjust a cardigan to my comfort levels.
  • The soft gray colors of winter days.
  • How many days of the year I have access to the local aquatic center. They blessedly remain open on some holidays, and it feels like it makes up for the few days when they have to close the pool for swim meets.
  • Laughing at solutions that turn out to not be solutions and require a new solution. Sometimes ad nauseam. Bad enough at home, appalling at the national level, and inspiring to search for new solutions rather than giving up.
  • Learning. And learning. And learning.
  • The Techno-ditz prevailing.
  • Some acceptable greens and a bag of mandarins at the grocery store. This batch is sweet and juicy; the last two years tangerines have been dry and flavorless.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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1 Response to Gratitude Sunday: Call Me

  1. piratesorka says:

    You “aren’t married to your phone”? I think I have heard that phrase before…. I was a slow one to move to the cell phone model but when I did I did a major jump and bought a brand spanking new Apple phone ( I have forgotten the number ) but it has a lot of bells and whistles. I can see its begining to age out but right now I am going to hang on to it for sometime to come all the same. Many cells phones and their owners ( really, who owns who in some tied -to -the -pocket-everywhere-you-go-including- public- lavatory -stalls) annoy me. People who are out in public and insist on taking a call while I am with them without excusing themselves REALLY Annoy me. But then I am an old grumpy woman anyway. However for me now my phone is a lifeline I cannot do without these days. It also entertains me when there is no reading matter to be found while I await whomever is chauffeuring me about that day. Such is the way of my life now.

    Liked by 1 person

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