The postscript: poke and click | Columnists

“You gotta keep poking and clicking,” a friend tells me. “That’s what my daughter does.”

By this, she means that learning new technologies is not a straight path. I have to play with. I need to find the learning process fun and challenging and not get stuck when I make mistakes along the way.

I know I’m not the only one who finds the “poke and click” mindset a challenge when I just want to do the damn thing and move on to something I love. Like reading a book. With real pages.

My current frustration is with my phone. I use my phone to take pictures and occasionally to make phone calls. I don’t do well with texting. If you email me (and I hope you do!), I’ll probably respond within minutes because I’ve been sitting at my computer all day pretending to write. Getting an email gives me an excuse to quit whatever I’m working on and send a happy note.

My phone, on the other hand, sits on the corner of my desk, ignored. It must make noise or something when people text me, but I never notice it. It’s only when I pick up to make a phone call (which can be very long) that I see that I have a message.

“Oh-oh. I hope it’s not mom.

It won’t be my mother. She learned her lesson a long time ago and doesn’t text me anymore because I never see them. She sends me an e-mail to which, she will tell you, I respond immediately.

I never linked my phone. I don’t use it much because I’m already on my computer. I have this gigantic monitor and switching to the itty-bitty screen doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe I should put on my reading glasses. I do not see the interest.

The result is that I don’t know how to use my phone very well. But my phone is not helping me at all. It doesn’t even take pictures easily. The response time is so slow that the person I’m trying to photograph has let the smile fade from their face. The dog I’m photographing has been distracted and is looking the other way. The sun went under a cloud – or maybe set – before my phone started taking a picture.

“You need a new phone,” my husband, Peter, said after taking six photos in a row that made the subject look like it was underwater.

And so, after careful consideration, I decided to buy a new phone. I tried to buy one from a phone store, but they didn’t answer their phone. I realized what a stupid bunny I was. You are not supposed to call a phone shop. Uh.

So, I did what they wanted me to do and ordered it online. Now it’s coming in the mail, and I’m filled with a slight dread because I’m sure I’m going to have to do something complicated to get it to work – something involving a lot of banging and clicking – before I’m allowed to simply take less blurry photos and ignore my text messages in peace.

It’s good for me, I guess. Pushing and clicking might ward off Alzheimer’s and make me think I’m not too old to learn new tricks.

But the truth is, I’m not really looking for new tricks. Today I would be perfectly happy with a few old tricks that worked.

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About Marion Alexander

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