Straddling Technology Advancement

Our Creative Writing Group recently launched into a conversation about how technology has changed our lives.

My three-year old granddaughter will pick up her Mother’s phone and scroll through pictures until she finds what she was looking for. On a recent occasion she had to show me how to turn the phone on; a rather humbling experience.

The conversation triggered some memories of my parents. Often I will comment that it would be so overwhelming for my parents to experience this computerized world.

Dad bought a car with an automatic choke and he hated that advancement. He set about reverting to a hand choke and at that time I was his helper in the garage. Squished under the steering wheel and dash it was my duty to pull the cable through as Dad fed it from under the hood. Like a bucking bronco the cable fought us and some colourful language was heard coming from under the hood. Eventually we succeeded and the new car had been reverted back to an older model.

As cars evolved Dad could often be heard bemoaning the advent of computers in cars. He could no longer pop the hood and make his own repairs.

My Mom had her challenges with the updating of our phones. I can only imagine how she would respond to the smart phones and seeing the young people with a phone permanently clutched in their hands; always ready to respond to texts, emails and calls. Ask them a question and they will immediately go to Google for the answer. Our phones were party lines which were shared with six neighbours. This opened the opportunity for eavesdropping on neighbours conversations. If you were unlucky enough to have a chatty, gossipy neighbour, it could be difficult to get the line and make your own calls. When sirens from a fire truck could be heard wailing along country roads, Mom would go to the phone, crank it and get the local operator, Ethel, on the line. Ethel would know where the fire was and pass this info on to callers. Farmers would rush to the neighbour with the fire to assist in removing furniture or animals if it was a barn fire and helping save as much of their lives as possible.

Bell updated the phone system and Ethel was no longer at the local office. Mom heard a siren and went to the phone to find out the location of the fire. Can you imagine the shock of the unknown operator, located who knows where, when this woman was asking “where’s the fire”?

I realize that I am straddling the technology advancement. Technologically I am smarter than my parents but not as smart as my three-year old granddaughter.


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