When technology passes you by

Driving through a city bigger than ours – by which I mean it has more choices to enhance a diner’s chain restaurant experience – my daughter pointed out the window.

“I’ve never been to an IHOP before,” she said.

Never been to IHOP? That’s like saying ‘I’ve never been to rural Nebraska.’ She’ll get over it.

“The International House of Pancakes? They serve breakfast food and sandwiches,” I said. “I do that for less money at home. You know, at Daddy’s House of Eat It or Starve.”

The back seat was silent, only for a second, but that was an eternity in our car.

“IHOP’s a restaurant?” she asked. “I thought it was a phone store.”

Of course she did. She’s 10. An I-anything has something to do with Apple computers. An android is no longer a reference to Lt. Commander Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and a turntable is when Mom wants to rearrange the dining room furniture.

Things change slowly for adults, until we encounter a child who has no idea what we’re talking about then we realize we’re just old.

I grew up with the VHS, cassette tapes, telephones that were connected to walls, wristwatches, calculators that were just calculators, typewriters, and radios that, you know, picked up radio signals.

How many people still have just a radio in their house? Hands up? One, two and you there, in the back. Three. Three people. Four including me.

Children of non-geezers have no idea what these things are.

I remember when everyone thought the pager was a pretty neat idea. I guess it still is. According to a recent article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, even today pagers are widely used by people in the medical profession.

Is it tough to give up on technology we’re comfortable with? You betcha. The first telegram was sent by Samuel Morse in 1844. The country’s biggest telegram service, Western Union, formed in 1856. Western Union sent its last telegraph in 2006.

Two thousand six? This was the year Twitter launched. This was the year MySpace was at its peak of sort-of popularity. Facebook had been out for two years. People had been texting for 14 years. According to the Pew Research Center, by that year 75 percent of Americans owned cellphones.

With all this technology that’s main purpose is to immediately contact someone, who the heck was sending telegrams in 2006? Maybe the people who still had pagers.

My family doesn’t have cable television, so our entertainment comes via the internet. This has resulted in commercials baffling our toddler whenever we go to Grandma’s house.

But some things that have outlived their usefulness are still with us.

My 10-year-old IHOPer is an uncontrollable selfie addict. When we got home from our drive she snapped a picture with my years-old “stupid” phone.

“How do I save the picture on this?” she asked.

She’s a smart kid and can usually figure these things out on her own. I was surprised she had to ask.

“The save button’s right there,” I said, pointing to the key clearly marked by the icon of a floppy disk.

A floppy disk?


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