By TINA JENSEN
Retirement is fabulous most of the time but as senior citizens are we really expected to live the rest of our lives in a world where it has become necessary to operate highly technical gadgets that we don’t always understand? Take my iPhone, for example. I can text, email and be entertained by anything that I’m interested in. That part is great but using some of the phone’s other capabilities can be detrimental to my health. I find myself getting frustrated and thinking that I have lost my mind when it takes me hours to figure out how to use something new on my phone that my kids, as they say, have shown me 300 times.
One morning, I was in the bathroom getting ready to take a shower and remembered that I didn’t return my granddaughter’s call. I told myself that I would just give her a quick call before I jumped in. I put her number in and didn’t notice that I hit “FaceTime”. For those of you who don’t know what “FaceTime” is, I will enlighten you. When you make a phone call it allows you to be seen by the person you are calling and you can also see them. When I realized what I had done, the voice in my head kept repeating, this is not good! I pictured what my granddaughter would see when she answered the phone. I could not get FaceTime turned off or my phone turned off and at any second my granddaughter was bound to pick up the call and see me. The view of my “getting ready to jump in the shower” look would without a doubt traumatize her for life. It seemed like time stood still as I pounded on the phone and broke into a sweat. I knew that if she answered in one more ring, she would likely never be able to look me in the eye again. I frantically thought if that happens, I will just pay for her future trauma counseling probably for the rest of her life. I heard a faint hello just as the phone finally hung up. Yes, I screamed as I ran and got dressed. I called her back and quickly realized that she hadn’t seen anything as she asked why I was out of breath. “Oh, you know this dumb phone is a pain sometimes”, I said.
Speaking of my spiking blood pressure, have you ever texted a friend and then realized that you didn’t only text her but several other people that you had on a group text? You finally realize it and panic as you reread your text several agonizing times over the thought that you might have said something that you wouldn’t have ordinarily shared with 15 other people? A friend texted me to tell me that she was mad at her husband and wanted to air out her frustrations. Unfortunately, she had accidentally sent the text to her husband instead of me. Phones are not the only necessities that can be overwhelmingly frustrating. How about all of the cards that we use now? We have credit cards, gift cards, discount cards, etc. My Starbucks card is red and my Macy’s card is also red. Twice now when in a hurry, I have tried to pay the young man at the drive-up window with the wrong card. He was very nice even the second time as he seemed embarrassed for me and said, “I’m sorry ma’am, we don’t take Macy’s cards.” I just started laughing as I realized to him it all seemed so simple but to me when I was his age our lives were much simpler in so many ways. If we went to Disneyland, we just picked up a map and started running to be in the front of the line. Now you use a cell phone to reserve your spots after studying many complicated Disney texts. Those were the days.
I may not be very tech savvy but when I am going the wrong way and Siri politely says please make a U-turn at the next corner it is a relief. I have vowed to myself that I will keep working to improve the way that I use all of these conveniences without frightening or offending anyone. Seniors, hang in there; you are not alone!
Tina Jensen is a member and one of the coordinators of activities for the Escalon Senior Fun Bunch. She contributes a monthly column for The Times.