It can’t all be due to my boomer status. That’s a bit over-rated anyway. I simply have twenty-plus…well, LOTS of years experience as a forty-something. It aptly describes how behind I usually am in trying out for the first time many conveniences others adapted to smoothly and quickly.
…Like the microwave. When a couple of my students many moons ago realized I didn’t own one, I won one. (They may or may not have stuffed the drawing box). That one lasted a long time, and I did replace it, though I will admit to using it now to store bags of chips or cracker sleeves. It works well for that as long as I remember they are there.
…And like the video cassette recorder. I still have one, but I don’t use it since I no longer own a television, but when I first acquired a VCR, I loved it. I was even able to watch one show while recording another. That lasted until the old stuff went by the wayside and the new cable box was installed. I could never figure out how to do it again. It probably should have been tossed with the TV. I did adjust to the digital satellite stuff somewhat, though it wasn’t an idea combo with the old-fashioned TV set. The remote was mind-boggling for a long while. So it’s not surprising I do not yet have a smart television and Roku or Sudoku or Hugo…whatever that programming stuff is. My brain is enjoying its sabbatical from discombobulating tech devices and my blood pressure is great.
…Then there were CD players. I wore out a couple of walkmans (walkmen?) playing my cassette tapes. As if from outer space compact discs appeared, and skip-resistant players became as necessary as shoes. Besides, CD players were showing up in autos so I had to get on board. One car ago, my Buick had one, though I had to announce first quite loudly and confidently that it did NOT, only to have it pointed out to me after several months of ownership that it DID. I decided my current Buick hid it even better, so after just a couple of weeks of the treasure hunt for it I called the salesman to ask where it was. It does NOT have a CD player, so back to square one. I am behind the times again with a once respectable CD library that is of little use. My trusty car radio gets lots of playing because I haven’t the mindset yet to learn about downloading and Bluetooth-ing MY music. All those cables and ports…I like to hop in the car and go, not fumble with electronics. I am ready for AI to read my mind and play my preferences automatically when I start the car.
…without a key. That’s the latest rigmarole I have encountered – an ignition without a keyhole. It’s certainly a far cry from the crank-start automobiles I’ve heard tell of, but never drove, by the way. I have never walked barefoot uphill both ways to school and back – I wore knee-high socks and saddle oxfords to traverse sidewalks in rain, shine or blizzard – but when I started driving the 4-in-the-floor, I had a respectable key ring with an ignition key, a door key and later a fuel key. My car does not even have a gas cap, just a round door I couldn’t figure out how to open because it does not have a finger-hint nor is there a button on the dash! I had owned the vehicle for a couple of weeks when for some reason I had a dead battery. Maybe, just maybe, I didn’t turn the engine off. I had the fob in my hand, went in and went to bed, and woke up to a new car that would not start. The AAA guy was polite. It has happened before with these, he said. These…these cars or these drivers? Wonder which he meant.
…Speaking of that fob. The car came with two, but neither had a key with it. Another one of those calls to the salesman. Yes, I know it has a keyless start, but the book in the glove compartment – at least I could find and open that – says it has a key and there isn’t one anywhere, not even hidden under the floor mat or in the ash tray. Oh, wait. There isn’t one of those either. I don’t smoke but it comes in handy for earring-holding at the end of a long, hard day in the modern world. Turns out there is a James Bond-like secret to the fob which opens to reveal half a key. If the fob won’t let me in, and I use the half-key to open the door, will the car still start in that scenario? Seems – not logical. If the car is not going to go, I don’t need to get in.
Maybe driver-less cars are just what this 40-something with half-a-century experience needs, if it is designed to go with voice prompts like the Alexa gizmo. I have not introduced myself to her yet. I don’t think either of us is ready.
Written for my Close to Home column in Nov. 27, 2019 issue of hometown weekly The Prospect-News
The magical fob and actual old-fashioned keys I still have to be troubled with. Ha!