• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Will You Still Need Me

Today, I had a breakfast meeting with an editor (egg white omelette with mushrooms and onions), and she took out an iPad and walked me through her company’s catalogue and more specifically the books she had acquired. She was able to enlarge photos with a flick of her finger. WHen I looked up from the tablet, I was staring at Steve Jobs and he smiled and nodded, yes, Betsy, you too can come with us. And then the woman continued and the jackets were fabulous and her quick descriptions were smart and pithy. And I thought that I probably had more than a few projects that might work for her, that I would show her. But I couldn’t get over the pad even though it was a brilliant presentation.

Why am I so old?  How old are you, technologically speaking?

41 Responses

  1. In general, I still love to read books on paper, in between a cover I can open and close and gently kiss, saying, “Thank you. You were wonderful.”

    But I do own a laptop, a Nook, and a Kindle Fire. The iPad may be coming soon. Technology definitely has its place for communication, research, and at times (especially while I’m traveling) even for reading.

    Time to come over to the dark side, Betsy. It will only hurt for a moment.

  2. I know I’m older then you! I have a very very VERY old cell phone, I do have a Sony Ereader, but still prefer paper books, oh and I have a laptop. I do want an iPad but it will have wait.

  3. I have been waiting 4 days for Madeline Albright’s memoir PRAGUE WINTER to show up on my doorstep. I still don’t have a Nook or a Kindle. iPads are magic tricks. I love the buggy and horse in this photo.

  4. I have all the devices in multiple copies but I still prefer paper.

  5. I’m an Isaac Asimov fan. I cut my teeth on sci-fi so all the gizmos…if I had the $ I’d have every single one, and every new version, of every single one. Alas, I have a flip phone and a laptop, (it has Kindle on it). To some of my friends I’m a tech-wizard; to my kids I might as well be writing on stone tablets and communicating via smoke signals.
    I just used the word ‘gizmo’ and ‘alas’, that’s how ancient I am.

  6. Resistance is futile. I will say, I own a Kindle, iPad, and iPhone. I read on all these devices AND, my kids can download any of the books in my e-library to their iPhones (with the Kindle app) while they are at school. It has revolutionized the DMV, doctor’s offices, and traveling in general. However! The last three books I have purchased were just released hardcovers (from my favorite local bookstore–The Tattered Cover.) They were books I wanted on my shelves. They were books I wanted to touch. They were books I thought I might like to press into the hands of other people at some point. I buy a lot of books. Some are instant gratification Kindle purchases. Some I drive thirty miles into downtown Denver for. I love the choice.

  7. The question of me and technology is a worn out joke in my family. Between the 1990s-ers Mac computer I still use for my accounting tasks, preferring a Waterman fountain pen to ballpoints and my collection of 18th century clocks I’m barely flirting with the 21st century. Add into the mix some calligraphy skills, a penchant for baking colonial-era bread recipes and efforts to play Chopin on a 100 year+ piano and I could probably consult to steampunk authors.

  8. I am old. I am as old as my parents were when they were my age and I was young and looking at them knew they were old.

    That so many young people wander the streets, heads down while they are engrossed in their communicators, and manage not to stumble over pavement discrepancies or wander heedlessly into traffic, confirms for me that I am old.

    That my son has a smart phone and I do not and at Thanksgiving last year I asked him to show me how it works and what it does proves to me that I am old.

    That I stopped caring any more than a minimal amount about the digital revolution once it had got good and going nearly twenty years ago is the stale icing on the cake of my dried and crumbly age.

    When I reached that point where I got off the treadmill of constant retraining (“Free time is training time!”–quick, what movie is that from), that was the point at which I began to know the frightening power in the freedom of being old and the sloughing off of the unnecessary.

    • I work in a large store and all day long, all ages, it’s heads down, thumbs skimming or phones to heads, or blue-tooth beetles stuck in their ears as they carry on conversations with themselves but they are talking with people half way around the world who are doing the exact same thing.

      “I am old. I am as old as my parents were when they were my age and I was young and looking at them knew they were old.”Yup you nailed it.”
      I am jumping off the retraining treadmill and feeling free.

  9. Betsy, I don’t think it’s a case of being old, just focused. You can get the job done with less frou-frou, and you aren’t hankering for the latest distraction. An iPad doesn’t just manifest in one’s Coach® bag, you have to chat up others who own one, read the reviews, down an Apple® Kool-Aid® at the Genius Bar. You’ve got plenty on your plate without all that.

    I love high tech and am totally hip and up-to-date with technology as far as knowing about it, but I do not buy every new gadget because I think that’s for chumps. My first real job was crafting resumes on a Mac over 30 years ago; four years later I pretended to be a gay male when I discovered chat rooms on my prof’s computer. It may have been one of the first incidences of creating a false identity on the interwebs. Good times. I am addicted enough to the internet already and if I have to wait in line I prefer to people-watch live than get on Facebook and see the same-old, same-old. I hold on to my gear until it’s ready to be euthanized.

    My first smart-phone, after having lost my six-year old cell phone, arrives tomorrow.

  10. I feel like a baby technologically. I feel like I am starting and learning so much. I am having so much trouble working on the separate layers in a photo manipulation program. I had it right once before and even with the manual, I can’t figure it out, but I will. But when I talk to the techno helper at pay pal, I feel like I am the boss of him when I tell him what he did wrong. And did you see the picture of those two guys in the kilts on Pinterest? Oh. My. God.

    If you buy one of those screen skins for your iPad, the camera won’t work as well. Usually.

    Well, yeah. You know about these ups and downs and where I am right now, huh?

  11. I love my IPad. It keeps glowing when my husband turns out the lights.

  12. I have a push/pull thing going on with technology. I’ve seen and even taken advantage of the possibilities but I don’t ultimately trust. I still carry all my personal contacts scribbled out by hand in a hard cover address book in my purse. I never thought myself old until now.

  13. Like anything else, I think technological age is relative. When hanging around my younger (as in, twenty-something) sister and her friends with their smart phones and constant texting, I feel elderly.

    When at work, with the very near-retirement crew who refuse to adapt and I see them marvel every time I cut and paste, I feel oh so young and advanced.

    I caved a couple of years ago and bought a Kindle. For the many books I read and don’t fall in love with, I think it’s great. For the ones I want to read over and over and feel in my hands, the ones whose spines will eventually break from use, I buy a paperback.

    My love affair with paperbacks will never end.

  14. Around 895 years old, pre-Ludditte, even. I navigate by chart and compass on land and water, though I know how to use a GPS. My alter ego uses a typewriter, though I use this thing and a laptop, and recently got a smarty-phone, though I haven’t summoned the stuff to use it.

    Sometimes I think of all the swoopy, high-speed, low drag stuff the same way I look at firearms- it’s probably not a good idea to live so that you depend on them much.

  15. I have to push the keypad numbers on my phone a hundred times to send a five word text. I inherited an IPad from my husband. You can make presentations on it?

  16. I finally acquired a smart phone this year. For two weeks, I had to let every call go to voice mail because I didn’t know how to answer the thing.

  17. i love the photo. i’m pretty good with Apple. don’t like the iPhone, though, and am retreating into the past when my contract is up. my kid gave me his iPad–antimaterialism of youth–and it is a wonder but i never use it. it has become a cash register–have you noticed that?

  18. 102. I can figure out the essentials, how to program a new fangled TV or DVD or manage my way — barely — around a keyboard, but I’m lost in the world of iPads and even loaded cellphones. Honestly, it bothers me when I see people walking around with their eyes glued to a tiny screen when there’s so much going on around them that they’re missing unless it suddenly streams into their consciousness, aware too late that their fingers have turned green and webbed, realizing only through a 2 inch image that the magician they just passed on a street corner had turned them into a toad.

    I admire and respect some aspects of Amish culture — the closer the connection to the earth the healthier it is for the planet — but it’s a little too strict, regimented and close-minded for me. So I’m somewhere in between, old but not ancient, been around but still have a lot to learn and ready to let anyone tweeting while hiking in the woods walk right off that cliff.

  19. How old are you, technologically speaking?

    I stopped technologically aging in March this year after I was laid off from the tech company I worked at for way too long. If I were honest, I never fit that environment and I’m not sure how I survived all those years.

    When we have a family gathering, all the twenty/thirty somethings have their faces buried in Kindles and smart phones, busy texting, etc while the rest of us (fifty and older) are looking each other in the face and doing that archaic thing known as having a conversation.

    Frankly, I get annoyed by some of the silly “improvements” that get introduced on some of these “upgrades.” All I can imagine is a roomful of development folks going “How about if it can do this?” And the “this” is the device having the capability to remind you that pasta only needs to cook for x number of minutes to be al dente. What about reading the box for the instructions?

    Can you tell I got burned out on technology?

  20. If I don’t keep up I’ll be left in the dust. It’s just the way of the world.

  21. As some of you know I’ve been away for a few days because of my daughter’s wedding. (This is our second in six months). With all this talk about technology and feeling old about the way we do things…I think it’s all bullshit. Whether we pencil, pen or tap our way to telling and showing it doesn’t matter, it’s the noticing.

    I love gadgets but when you boil away the process it’s what you render which is important, not the pot you use or how much water.

    As writers it’s our job to notice that which flits by the eyes of others and recall it for them. It’s our job to interpret the universal theme which lies within the individual’s heart; it is our job to see, to contemplate, to communicate. Doesn’t matter how we do it, we must just do it…well.

    Okay…I’ll stop commenting, I have to go to work anyway.

  22. As in everything, I feel happily oldish and yet marginally youthful at the same time. Old because I love old paperbacks and lovely pens and also Chopin on the piano. But the iPad, well, I just love zapping things bigger. I couldn’t read books on one but for correspondence, research, mooching about, it’s so much easier on my abused eyes. The only thing is that I tend to look for the time somewhere on my piano music, and I once tried to finger-zap out a newspaper article when sans lunettes.

  23. I typed high school papers on a manual typewriter.

    I typed college papers on an electric typewriter.

    I wrote my first novel on WordPerfect 4.2 for DOS.

    I have written my subsequent four novels and a memoir on Word. I am writing novel #6 on Word.

    Must I adapt to any other word processing all over again? Word upgrades make me crazy as it is.

    I don’t have any device that begins with I and don’t wish for one. But who knows what the future holds.

    • WordPerfect rocks. I still use it and can’t stand Word, though since Word is the standard I must have a working relationship with it.

      But when I compose… WordPerfect! 4.2 when I was a computer virgin, then quickly seduced by 5.0 and 5.1 and was there a 5.2?, i don’t remember. Then 6 when it first got GUI, then someone bought it who didn’t give a shit about it and almost tanked it but in the best American hero-story fashion it fought its way to a comeback and now it’s… what is it now? X3? X4? X5? I can’t remember and it’s on my computer at home and I’m here at my computer at work where we used to use and prefer WordPerfect but we use Macs and there’s no current Mac version so we use Word, which I may as well be forthright about and admit I loathe.

      No, I don’t own stock in WordPerfect, I’m simply a great fan of a great tool.

  24. I don’t have a smart phone or an iPad or a Kindle and am honestly too lazy to even download/add new songs to my iPod, which I only have in the first place because it belonged to my husband before he upgraded.

    No GPS. I keep an actual paper map in my car, which is practically older than me and only has tape deck. In the pocket in the driver’s-side door you’ll find mixed tapes I made more than a decade ago by recording songs off the radio.

  25. Technologically speaking, I’m sort of standing in the deep end of the pool where I can still keep my head above water. I write my WIP on my MacBook Pro but I have a lovely fountain pen and heavy, lush paper for correspondence. I just ordered my third generation of iPhone (been a Mac person for 23 years) but I don’t listen to music on it or watch movies on it or read books, heaven forbid, on it. I do love the ability to share pictures instantaneously via text with my kids and friends, though the REAL photos are still taken with my Nikon. And for books? Real paper that I can keep on my shelf, please. Except I AM going to Italy next month and I can see the wisdom of the Nook with the light. So I guess I swim comfortably in the technology pool but don’t let it drown me.

  26. I grew up with the typewriter. Took typing in high school knowing I wanted to be a writer and needed to learn to touch type. Only guy in the class. Probably the fastest most accurate typist. Became a journalist, advertising copywriter, creative director and all that jazz. Embraced the personal computer as a wordprocessor and love it still. As for the rest of technology, love it, but I’d say at best I’m a surface competent. Amazed and in awe of the kiddos who navigate so effortlessly through their Iphones, Ipads, etc. Love my Kindle and thought I never would get accustomed to reading on a device. Love my Iphone and never thought I needed all the geegaws. Still am a surface user but, hey, I love it. Technology is moving at an exponential rate. I’ll never keep up, but I smile as it rushes past.

  27. I don’t have a cell phone. I do have 2 i-pods and a Kindle. Spend most of my day at the lap top. Still can’t figure out how to use most of the remote. I’m a selective adopter and also a techno-klutz. I’d rather buy a book or an article of clothing than a toy.

  28. I’m so old that one of my friends invented one of the first search engines and sold it to AOL for millions. He doesn’t have a Kindle, even, and neither do I, but I enjoy the heck out of Twitter and FB, and if I could think of a good excuse for and iPad, I’d get one, but I can’t. I still read books as books.

  29. I am only 33, but that’s old enough to remember a time when people didn’t generally own computers. I learned to type on an electric typewriter and I dropped a history class in college because the professor required us to do research online and I wasn’t about to mess with all that. I didn’t get my first email address until a journalism professor required it of us in 2001…and I was not happy about it.

    Today I have a laptop and desktop, an iPhone, and an iPad (thanks to my tech happy school). I love them all and check my 3 email addresses numerous times a day. So I guess I’ve come a long way…I like technology but I really have to wait and see if it’s worth changing my ways before I’ll try it.

    However, I REFUSE to get an e-reader or place any books on my iPad. I am a reader of books, but more than that I am a lover of them. The paper and ink itself is just as important as the story. I want to see, and be seen with, the cover art. I want to smell the pages and feel their texture. I want to hold the book in my hand and place it on my shelf. I want to glance at each and every one every time I pass one of my shelves. I am a bibliophile at heart and I just figure all readers are not created equal 😉

  30. I am old. I am dead and buried. I do have a Kindle but have never used it. I got it for Christmas about three years ago. I don’t know how to answer my smartphone.

  31. I’m all for prgoression, but I feel we’re getting a little too reliant on technology. Cars that stop themselves, TV’s that go on voice recognition, it all seems a little reminiscent of Skynet and the whole Terminator saga. Maybe, I’m just old fashioned, though.

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