I am staying analog in this age of digital

I received an interesting piece of correspondence this week. It was addressed to “The Householder”and had clearly been typed using a typewriter. “Dear Friend,”the letter began, “we live locally, and on calling were unable to find you home.”It then went on to say that the “enclosed tract”contained “very important information”.
Nanjing Night Net

Yes, it was religious propaganda. Nevertheless, how incredible that someone (Mrs G Baxter, to be precise) had written to me using the slowest method possible. I was also impressed with the ending, which said, “You may contact us by entering our website in the address field of the Internet browser of your computer.”

What a detailed explanation. And with a capital “I”for internet! I refolded the letter and laughed at how behind the times Mrs Baxter was.Then I stopped laughing because it suddenly occurred to me that although I do not own a typewriter I am not exactly ahead of the times. In fact, the truth is, I’m not even up with the times. I still rent DVDs. I wash up so that I don’t have to use the dishwasher.

I’ve just been reading an article (in my actual paper newspaper) about how 2016 is the year of the connected house, extreme automation and“wearables”.Apparently we will all be asking our washing machines questions, throwing away our credit cards and turning our heaters on before we arrive home. It’s going to be amazing.

Years ago a friend told me about her father’s first word-processing attempt. He started typing, then suddenly stoppedand murmured, “I can see the dollar sign, but I can’t get the dollar sign.”He thought the “shift”key was only for producing capital letters.Another friend once described the day his grandmother had a go on his computer. “It’s not working,” she exclaimed, as she clicked the mouse button repeatedly. “Gran,” my friend said, patiently, “You don’t have to aim the mouse at the screen like a gun. It sits on the table.”

I know what you’re thinking – stupid old people! I bet they still go into banks! However, you shouldn’t make rash assumptions. My parents (both in their early 60s) are way more plugged in and switched on than I am.

My technophobia is not caused by age, but rather lack of interest.I don’t care enough to learn anything new.I do know how to get a “$”, and I understand that mice function best on tables, but my techno knowledge is ridiculously deficient. My desktop computer allows me to look at “The Internet”and that’s it.I’m not on Facebook, I don’t have a Twitter account, and I don’t follow anyone on Instagram.

My car does not have GPS or a screen to show me the toddler I’m about to run over. I recently drove one of my daughter’s friends home from school. “How do you open the window?”she asked. “I’m afraid you have to wind it down by hand,”I replied.

In her letter, Mrs G Baxter did point out that we live in “stress filled times”and must search for real happiness.Are my Luddite ways helping to avoid the constant pressures of this hectic modern existence? Or are they actually making day-to-day living difficult and inefficient?I suppose I do enjoy receiving emails, and I quite like the instantaneousness of text messages. Fridges are much more convenient than Eskies. And I’m quite keen on the latest weather updates that the Bureau of Meteorology website provides.

But should I buy a chair that knows when I’m sitting in it? Should I be wearing a “wearable”? Should I get with the times? I don’t know.Maybe I’ll ask my washing machine.

Jean Flynn is a freelance writer. You cannot follow her on anything.

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