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My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
I really don’t care for this new high-tech world we live in today. It has most everyone held hostage to its endless knowledge but more some people than others. I like to think I’m one of those others. I try very hard not to be the guy in the doctor’s office, dentist’s office, airport, passenger seat in any mode of transportation, or even in my own living room with his/her face buried in the screen of their phones. In both airports I recently had time to waste while in route to Las Vegas I stared in disbelief at almost everyone who was looking down at their phones as they moved slowly in line or while sitting in wait.

So it was one little kid and me looking out the windows at the planes as they moved in and out of the gates and also at the baggage personnel loading and unloading the cargo holds of the planes. I wondered if maybe this little boy had done something wrong and maybe his parents had grounded him from his phone. Why else would he be looking out the windows of the airport with the only old guy from corncob county Illinois doing the same? After all, he was all of about 6 or 7 years old so surely he already had his own phone, right? Especially so if he was traveling with his parents. Don’t all parents buy their kids phones at the earliest age their kids want one so the parents don’t have to entertain their kids or worse yet; answer a bunch of dumb questions their kids might ask them while the parents are trying to use their own phones for something other than calling someone?

I was traveling with Shannon who is one of the 100 percenters. 100 percent face buried in her phone every waking moment of her day. Not in the shower you say? Oh yes; even in the shower her phone is blaring some ungodly terrible music. Her music is kinda like the music my boys listen too. Music that isn’t really music. Some person or people saying words while in the background you hear a horn, a guitar, cow bell, a couple of drums, and a piano with only half of it’s keys making noise. Even these instruments are cued up electronically; no person is actually trying to play any of them. I can sit and watch Shannon’s facial expressions having a conversation with her phone. She need not make a noise; her face says all that needs to be said.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I know I’m the odd man out in today’s tech world. People in these airports I recently traveled probably assumed I was legally blind because I wasn’t staring deep into my phone’s face grinning, frowning, mouth laughing, squinting my eyes, and sometimes looking aghast at what I must have just seen or learned. Are you kidding me?! Someone teleport me back to 1975 and sit me in the driver’s seat of my Trans Am that has about three AM radio stations, even fewer FM stations, and the 90 percent of the time I listened to its 8 track tape player. If someone needed to talk to me; they left a message on my landline phone message device that just hit the market! Ten hours later when I finally returned home I just might check that new voice recording sci-fi device to see if one of you called me.

After I showered and ate something at home for supper because there were no fast food places to eat in Tuscola. Yes, I remember the Tasty Freeze and Dairy Queen were here but even those places back then weren’t that fast unless you were after the ice cream products. And I’m glad they weren’t all that fast, because it was pretty much a guarantee your food was hot when you got it. And, in 1975 we were more inclined to sit down and eat where we bought because this was how we might meet up with our friends and share real live speech with one another because we had no cell phones or Facebook or Snapchat, or Twitter, or read my mind, or insta talk, etc. Nope, it was face talking to face. Just the way I feel God intended for we simple human beings to communicate with one another. I think God was pleased with my airport little buddy and me for taking the time to watch what was going on outside and around us with the senses he gave us naturally and not those who travel through time and space by radio waves and micro waves.

So what prompted my soap box rant tonight? My hard drive crashed in my 11 year old laptop I use at home to write these stories. Yes 11 years old and operating on Windows Vista! Go ahead and laugh! I just told you I hate this stuff. I started an iTunes account many, many, years ago in order to download music to CDs because prerecorded retail CDs might have one or two songs per CD that I liked out of the sixteen songs on the CD. And they were getting more expensive to buy. I have 170 songs purchased on my iTunes account and guess what? Yep, my account was wiped out and unrecoverable from the old hard drive! Once a new hard drive was installed my first mission was to get my iTunes account back.

Last night I sat up shop at my computer armed with Goggle information as to how I was to accomplish my mission with iTunes; which is Apple. I was getting nowhere fast. While on his way back from a trip from my kitchen, computer geek son Lukas stopped and asked me what I was trying to do. I told him my dilemma and he said to me; move out of the way. He navigated the gigabyte infested programs with ease right up to the square that said “download now.” As Lukas prepared to hit the button he turned and said to me; “You do have something other than Windows Vista by now right dad?” I said to him no why, does that matter? He laughed at me and got up out of the chair and said you’re screwed, I just wasted my time. It seems I need something that’s 64 and not 32 and Vista is 32 whatevers at best and blah, blah, blah.

My 15-year-old son made me feel like I was the son, and he was the all intelligent father. Role reversal at its worst for me. I understand being bested at some of the physically demanding challenges between my sons and me, but when it’s time for how best to navigate the day-to-day challenges of life; shouldn’t dad, that’s me, be the wise old owl? Well, on this night, this wise old owl got his wings clipped, beak broken, feathers plucked, or however a bird gets bested. So you wonder why if this bothers me so much why don’t I just make an effort to learn more about what this new and powerful technological world of “devices” has to offer? Nope, won’t do it! I’m 61 years old, and I don’t figure I have enough time left to be worrying about it. Heck I’m holding out, milking as much time as I can out of the roof that needs replaced on my house so I’ll only have to do it one more time. You see I figure if I get a 30-year guaranteed roof, I’m 61, if I live to be in my eighties, one more roof is all I’ll need to buy! Yep, when I hit 60 I started planning my purchases based on my life expectancy! Depressing you think? Heck no, just think of the money I’ll be saving!

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