“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse”. This quote seemed to speak directly to me and my reluctance to fully accept the digital world. However, computers are here to stay. So, for anyone, like me, still wary of computers – it is time to discard those excuses and find a way.
What do you mean ‘Double Click’?
Those were my exact words when, before Spotify, I was trying to download music from the computer to my cell phone. I had written down the instructions exactly as explained to me, including No.4 which said ‘Click’. Nothing happened. Not even a bar of music got downloaded. My daughter (the download expert) and I went through the motions, yet again. At No.4 she said, “You have to Double Click. Everyone knows that”. I murmured something about exceptions to the rule. Besides, with computers, I do not know what everyone knows.
By now, you would have guessed that computers and I are not on friendly terms. I use bits of paper to write down notes though I have a feature on my phone which actually says “Notes”. I can be typing on a computer but will go looking for my Oxford English Dictionary to check the spelling or the meaning of a word. Dictionary.com hasn’t quite earned my trust. ‘Copy/Paste’ confounded me for the longest time. I could ‘Copy’ just fine but was terrified of losing what I had ‘copied’ while I hunted for the document in which to ‘Paste”. Even worse, I cannot remember the number of times I have had to mount a search for the cursor. I suspect that, growing bored and breaking the rules, the cursor leaves the computer and goes on a hike.
Despite my initial antagonism, I have slowly come to appreciate that computers and other digital devices have made life a lot easier. No more waiting in line at the bank, I do all my banking online. However, I do worry if it bothers the computer that I check my bank balance everyday and sometimes twice a day. I am still in awe that I can get any information I need in mere minutes. I still remember the days when the entire set of the Encyclopedia Britannica held pride of place in our house.
I have often wondered why many of my generation have happily embraced digital technology while I drag myself, kicking and screaming, into this new world. It is probably a reluctance to let go of all that is so familiar. It could also be an unwillingness to ask for help or be a bother. Mostly, I hoped this was just a fad and would go the way of the gramophone or The Charleston.
It was Gloria, a sprightly 78-year-old, who truly opened my eyes to the wonders of this new world. Gloria went salsa dancing twice a week and it was her job to contact the members of her group as to where and when to meet. She was told her task would be made easier if she could just email everyone. So here she was, at the Literacy Council, to learn how to use a computer. My day of reckoning finally came when, one particular computer class of ten had four learners over the age of 80. Now that I have started working on my computer skills, salsa dancing may not be far behind.