Connections: Phoning It In

How have I come up with something different to say every week?

Can it be true that this column has appeared in The Star more than 2,000 times?

Apparently, that is the case, at least approximately. And if the number is really thereabouts, how have I come up with something different to say every week? 

Well, to be frank, I haven’t. 

I would be the first to admit that I have touched on my favorite subjects more than once over the decades — from inherited antique kitchen implements (a prehistoric popcorn-maker has made more than one cameo appearance here in print) to family pets (my various searches for succeeding generations of canine companions) to gardening glories and mishaps (the deer, oh dear, have become a near-obsession).

This morning, as the deadline looms, the best subject I can come up with is to boast retroactively about how I took to computerized word-processing way back when my colleagues were still using the proverbial blue pencils. I probably have bragged about this in print before, and I offer my apologies to any oldtime readers who might remember that. . . . But what interests me about it now is that I have come to realize that my own private limit for new-technology adaptation has been met. 

Once I was at the forefront of it all, getting the staff at the Star office onboard with an early program called XyWrite, but these days I have taken an aversion to new electronic devices and the fuss and bother of learning to use them.

I realize this kind of talk makes me sound ike a curmudgeon, but take my cellphone, for example. It is definitely antiquated. It’s not exactly a flip-phone — it doesn’t have a cover that flips, 2001-style — but I don’t know what to call it other than an un-smart wireless device. I bought it in 2011 (!)  but have never bothered to explore all the apps on it; I didn’t recognize the term “apps” in 2011. Nor did I pay attention to the fact that you could use it to browse the web. Although I did take a few photos with it, at first, I quickly decided they weren’t good enough to bother about. Give me my old point-and-shoot any day.

Having an old phone is a lifestyle choice for me. I’m something of a Luddite, I suppose.

From time to time, I have considered buying an iPhone and asking one of the grandchildren to tutor me in its mysteries, but I haven’t succumbed. I even rejected my husband’s offer to give me his old iPhone when he upgraded to the latest (gigantic) version a short while ago. (He’s not a Luddite.) Instead, I continue to look around more with dismay than amazement when I encounter hordes of people with their heads down and their fingers at work on those little rectangles. Am I just an old fogey, unwilling to try anything new — or am I taking a stand for life in the real world?

Passover, the holiday that commemorates the Jewish people’s exodus from slavery in Egypt, has just passed. The story told at traditional seders ends with the song “Dayenu.” The Hebrew word means “it would have been sufficient.” God is said to have bestowed many things upon the people. The most telling perhaps is if He had led the people out of Egypt but not given them the Ten Commandments, it would have been sufficient. 

The food, family, and fun of Passover seders were highlights of my childhood, and I seem to have embedded what was a religious concept into my everyday secular life. If I have a wireless phone that connects me to whomever or whatever I need to reach, it is sufficient.

And if I have said this same thing here before, I hope you have forgotten it — as I obviously have.