Adapt or Perish

Hello friends, Sorry to have had no posts for a while. This is because I did not have my computer guru at  my side to lead me through the posting process. This is all still so new to  me that I feel unsafe doing it without reassurance that each move I make will not be my last. I truly am trying to get more computer savvy but this is an uphill struggle. I’m sure you are far more competent than I am;  I’m hoping you’re also patient .

Adapt or Perish

If technological advances had been left up to me, we might still be living in caves and digging our dinner out from under rocks with a pointed stick. When it comes to change, I am never on the cutting edge.

Fortunately, however, progress has always been in more innovative hands than mine. By the time I arrived on the scene in 1921, many civilized amenities were already in place. I grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where we lived in a snug brick house and the groceries were delivered to our back porch from the corner grocery store. The inventions my parents marveled over and took pride in possessing, the electric stove and washing machine, the victrola, the crystal radio, the vacuum cleaner, the telephone with the voice that said “Number Please,” were simply part of my surroundings. I took these conveniences for granted and used them adeptly, just as today’s children nonchalantly handle computers, VCR’s and DVD’s.

The technology we are born into is usually not a problem for us. It’s the innovations that are introduced later in life that cause the difficulties. I can remember my German grandfather being absolutely terrified of the telephone. This was the courageous man, mind you, who sailed from Europe to the United States with a pregnant wife and three small children to homestead in Nebraska. “By gollies, I don’t touch dot t’ing!” he declared when urged to talk into it to speak to his daughter in Omaha. I undoubtedly smiled in a superior way at the time, just as my grand-children covertly smiled at each other when I vowed that I would never touch a computer.

Well, Grandpa learned to use the telephone, although he always bellowed into it, firm in his belief that vocal transmission depended solely on his lung power. And I am learning to use a computer, haltingly, prayerfully, always with an incomplete understanding of what I am doing. Both Grandpa and I reluctantly bowed to the law of survival: Adapt or perish.

I have to tell you, though, that adapting does not preclude looking back on olden time with a certain amount of wistfulness.

Am I about to say those were the good old days? Well, yes, I am— in a way. Would I like to go back to them? Well, no, I wouldn’t—not exactly.

What I actually want to do is stop the fast-forward button somebody has pressed. Our time-saving devices seem to have robbed us of the time for the personal touch in the transactions of daily life, for the leisurely face to face encounters that encourage the building of understanding and friendship. For me, these things are humanly necessary. I still like the idea of a live voice saying “Number Please.” That’s why, when I call a business or agency, I always wait through a long menu for the option of last resort—the button to push that connects me with a real person.

I realize that resisting the new and clinging to the old is considered a hallmark of old age. Yet sometimes we need to look at the cost of progress in terms of the impact it has on the quality of our life and consider how much we are controlling technology and how much technology is controlling us.

When my computer was “down” for a couple of days last month, I suddenly realized I was “up.” Why? I was released from the compulsion to check my e-mail and sort through the junk messages, to browse the internet, to slip in a few games of solitaire, to struggle again with my newly installed Word program. I recognized that I spend a lot of time every day peering into Windows instead of looking out of windows. My world had changed from round to flat—as flat as a computer screen. But do I want to part with my computer? I do not. It is a marvelous, magical tool and I cannot imagine life without it.

So how do we strike a balance?  I’ll tell you what—e-mail me when you have a free afternoon. We’ll have a cup of tea together in my garden. I’d so love to see you again to find out what’s been happening in your life. And I’d like to see the expression on your face when I tell you what’s happening in mine. Please don’t bring your cell phone.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. ,*: I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information ~-:

    Reply

  2. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian,Earn Free Vouchers / Cash

    Reply

  3. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, iwspo.net

    Reply

  4. Posted by Yvonne on May 21, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Hi Lucille,
    Well written as ever. Glad to see you are still up for wrestling with the technology. After you get blogging down pat, next up is Facebook, eh? Or tweets?

    I’m teasing!
    Your east coast friend, who always loves reading your creations,
    Yvonne

    Reply

  5. Miss Lovestedt, I find your musings quite enjoyable to read. I think if more people nowadays had an “adapt or perish” mindset, we’d all be a lot better off! I’ve added you to my “Blog Roll” and look forward to your next article.

    The Codger
    http://thecodger.wordpress.com/

    Reply

  6. Posted by marion on May 3, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Everyone our generation surely relates to this one!
    Well said as always. Keep those essays coming please. Makes us old timers feel not quite so alone.

    Reply

  7. Posted by BIll Allewelt on May 3, 2010 at 12:28 am

    You expressed my feelings about new technology perfectly. It’s not just the newness that can be overwhelming, but the pace of change. We had a two piece telephone that stood on a table in our hallway from my earliest memory almost until I graduated from high school, The only change during that time was installation of a longer connecting wire when my older sisters became teenagers, enabling them to secrete phone calls from the privacy of their bedrooms. Not too long ago I purchased one of the first cell phones on the market, only capable of sending and receiving messages. Of course that was all I needed. When it was replaced, the new unit was examined by my five-year old grandson, exclaiming “Grandpa, it’s got three games on it!” That was enough to warn me never to attempt operating one again..

    Reply

  8. Posted by mrgaret on May 2, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    From your exact contemporary–how true, how wise. One feels sustained.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Meg on May 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Well said – I enjoyed reading this one.

    Reply

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