My family teases me about certain things I do that harken back to the horse and buggy era.
For example, my most enjoyable time of day is the morning, sitting with my coffee, brewed in my old electric percolator. As I sip my coffee, I read a printed copy of the daily newspaper that’s been delivered to my front door. The newspaper company frequently offers me “deals” if I switch to digital service, but I resist.
I don’t text, tweet, or use any of my smartphone features. Yes, I do have a smartphone, but I refer to myself as a “dumb user.” I am also the original computer dummy. The language of apps, bytes, and megabytes remains foreign to me.
In slow, labored stages, however, I’ve tried to join the present day and learn about various technologies, terminology, and usage. For years I refused to use a microwave oven. My reasoning was twofold: “What’s the rush?” and “If I were organized in my food preparation, there’d be no need for it.” However, when I became so busy with my day-to-day activities, I decided to give it a try. Now I’m the Microwave Queen, using it every day.
In an effort to help me “catch up” to life today, my son and daughter bought me a computer about 15 years ago. Realizing it is of no value unless I learn how to use it, I signed up for a course at Triton College designed to teach older adults how to use the device. The first day of class was a warm one in late August. As we students began assembling, we chatted with one another, and I realized that, to some extent, most of them had been using the computer. I immediately felt intimidated, but I stayed, determined to do this.
As our instructor entered the room, he smilingly greeted us and said, “OK, let’s start by opening some windows!” I was seated next to a bank of windows so … yes, you guessed it … I got up and dutifully tried to open one. As I did this, the room filled with uproarious laughter. I was so embarrassed by their reaction to my terrible misunderstanding that I quickly grabbed my purse and left the room —— never to return!
Since then, I’ve received some guidance from the River Forest Public Library and, of course, from my children, grandchildren … and great-grandchildren.
The good news is, I now know how to use email. However, that’s about it. I am reluctant to partake in other computer activities and benefits like most folks do. For example, there’s no word processing for me. I pen these weekly columns, scribbling away with pad of paper in hand — after which, my daughter Barbara types them for submission.
I continue to most appreciate sending and receiving a hand-written note or a phone call more than any digital message or phone-delivered text. So the old fogey still exists in me, but with effort, at the tender age of 99 years, I still have time to catch up to the present!
As far as we know, Harriet Hausman, of River Forest, is still the eldest newspaper columnist in the country, possibly the world.