I’ve been with Momma for nearly two, how shall I woof it?, incredible years now. For the most part she’s managed to stay on top of things, but lately she has been in a funk about life in the 21st century. It’s just too complicated, she has concluded – too much work to try and keep up. “It’s almost like having a full-time job, Lina,” she whimpers. Which of course “begs” the question – how would she know?
Momma is especially upset about the lightning fast changes in communication and technology (“Things used to be so simple, Lina – a television with 3 channels and a rotary dial desk phone – do we really need more?”). But now every aspect of her life, it seems, leaves her in a constant state of bewilderment and frustration. She laments that even her car is way over her head. She can barely get the radio (if that’s what it’s still called) or the air conditioning turned on. And does she really have time to be pulling over every few feet to read the operator’s manual?
Another of Momma’s “pet” peeves these days is the onslaught of social media. “I don’t like the way it’s intruding on our lives, Lina,” she complains. The reason she is so resentful, of course, is that she doesn’t understand it.
For example, the other day when we were filling up on gasoline and she saw that the ad by the gas pump encouraged her to “Follow Us On Facebook.” What, she thought?? Even if I knew how, why would I go home and get on my computer to find out what’s new at Super America on Facebook?? Don’t I have enough to do already, she inwardly seethed.
Similarly, she recently heard the host of a news broadcast direct viewers to “like us” on Facebook. What, I can’t just watch the news anymore and be done with it, she fumed? Do people really drop everything they are doing and get on one of their devices to “vote” for the stupid program? (Especially one that is not Fox News?)
Momma becomes even more exasperated when she opens an email from a merchant or a webpage and sees all the tiny social media symbols at the bottom of the page urging her to “stay connected” via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google, Google +, Google Play (“Just how many Google things can there be, Lina?”), Tumblr and YouTube. Should she choose one? Two? All of them? Will she lose touch with the world if she opts not to? What are they anyway?
Another thing that sends her into orbit is all the choices one must make just by carrying out a purchase. Which credit card should she use? (Note to Momma – the one that is not maxed out.) Does she hand it to the sales associate or use the little machine? Does she slide or insert it? Invariably she does the wrong thing and the condescending associate – who addresses her as “dear” – must correct her. And could she just once remove her inserted card from the machine before it honks at her, notifying everyone in line that she doesn’t know what she’s doing?
Then there’s the receipt dilemma. Does she want it by paper? Email? Both? This drives her crazy. If she takes it in paper format, the young hip salesperson will think she is a doddering old fool or a Republican who doesn’t care about the environment (Editor’s note: “if the shoe fits, Momma, wear it”). If she chooses email, will she be able to find it in the stack of 2,132 unopened items currently sitting on her iMac, when she makes the (inevitable) return? And she’ll have to print it then anyway, won’t she? And hasn’t she made enough decisions just by picking which pair of shoes to buy?
“It’s enough to make me want to stay home and crawl under a rock, Lina.” But not enough to make her want to quit shopping, I’m sure.
Lina, Trying to Keep Momma In Line & On Line
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