May 24th 7:11pm - Cell Phones and Generational Gappage

In speaking with one of my parent's friends the other day, I conceived just how disadvantaged their generation is. They were raised in a time when microwaves and color television were the equivalent of iPods, and computers and the Internet were no closer to being accessible to the public than Hannibal Lector. It was a good time, when parents allowed their children to romp outside, three pairs of shoes sufficed for all (one sandal, one Converse, and one dress shoe), nobody knew the dangers of lead-based paint, and the concepts of AIDS and STDs hadn't caught on yet. However, today their technological knowledge rivals that of Fred Flintstone, and while my generation generally adapts to new technology, embracing its offerings, our parents and grandparents futilely struggle, as one would should they attempt to cut a steak with a butter knife. Below find the conversation I had with a fifty-year-old of two high-school teenage daughters and one elementary school nine-year-old:

50: "So I went to my phone company last week. I walked in, said I didn't want anything but a phone that could make calls and text. Apparently those don't exist anymore." 
Me: "Ya, the most basic includes camera and video-camera capabilities, Bluetooth, speakerphone, voice dialing, music, some variation of a media center, and generally a navigator and a slew of other functions you can access for as little as ninety-nine cents, but generally averaging three dollars and ninety-nine cents." 
50: "You sound like a foreign or alien correspondent coming to confuse my brain waves. The only reason I even know how to text is because apparently that's all my children respond to. They won't answer my calls, but three point two nanoseconds after I send them a text message, they'll respond." 
Me: "That's just because it's so much easier. They might be in the middle of a movie, or a game, or conversation. Texting is really convenient." 
50: "It's more likely that they're shooting up some form of illegal substance and just don't want to talk to their ravaged recreant father." 
Me: "I'm sure the worst they're doing is having sex and smoking weed." 
50: "The problem is, it takes me seventeen minutes to type a message. My fingers are too large for the microscopic buttons. Then there's this thing where it changes my words. I try to write, 'Where are you?' and what sends is 'Ygfh bsd wnv?' Even though I can tell by their perfectly composed text messages that they're drunk, they have the nerve to ask me if I'm drunk. This is after I've called both of them twelve times and had to finally resort to text messaging my own daughters. I'm lucky if they respond at all. And I pay for those phones! For Christmas last year my eight-year-old daughter only requested an iPhone. As if I'm giving that child a phone before she's twenty-five!" 
Me: "Ya, my parents held out until I was sixteen before giving me a phone. Which essentially meant that I was stranded every other day after school because I had no phone to call one of my parents to remind them of their daughter's existence and that I needed a ride. I had to walk home most of the time. I almost got hit by cars three times. My mom forgot to pick me up one time when it was rumored a child molester/prowler was in the area. I made her feel guilty for that one for weeks. And she still forgot to pick me up from school!" 
50: "Tough lives we both lead, huh?" 

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