At almost-82


I was on my way to visit my mother’s sister. At almost-82 years old, she recently decided to get rid of her ancient flip phone, along with her house phone, and upgrade to a smart phone. She was having difficulty with her new ‘device’ (it’s difficult to refer to them as only a phone) and had some questions.

Before arriving, I needed to stop at the vet and drop off some dog poop. Blooming by their door were delicate yellow and red flowers. I would include a photo, but when I reached into my bag for my…device, it wasn’t there. I hate to admit this, but my stomach actually clutched! I thought through the last few minutes before leaving the house and could almost picture it on the arm of the living room chair. Shit! Or should I say “poop”.

I debated returning home, but bravely kept going. We all grew up fine without a cellie stapled to our foreheads. Right?

It was a gorgeous day, made even more so by a feeling of detachment, a lessening of something like … accountability. That is, until I realized I was going to be late to my aunt’s and pushed the hands-free button on my steering wheel to call and let her know. Ha! How’d that work out? Well, I’ll quickly go back to the vet’s office and use their phone.

Growing up, we memorized the numbers we called most often and I can still reel off all my closest friend’s childhood digits, along with my aunt’s old number which started as a word. JAckson 8-8123, the JA standing in for 52. Another aunt’s number began with MItchell 6-1212, the MI for 64. I’m soooo dating myself!

Anyway, I easily remembered her old number, but never considered memorizing her new one. Simply added it to my contact information. Oh well. Onward.

And for the next half hour, it was incredibly eye-opening how many times I ‘reached’ for my device.

Needed to make a doctor’s appointment. Had no idea what their number was and no phone to look them up. Not to mention, no online calendar to refer to when making the appointment.

They’ve been tearing up the roads in my area lately. To avoid the mess, I thought to check the status of highway traffic. Not! Instead of feeling light, I was beginning to feel anxious. I know! How about listening to the meditation music I downloaded the other day? Check the weather? I don’t think so………

And I was one of those folks who stepped lightly into the cell phone age. Before data was available on cellies, my only requirements were – a decent camera, an alarm clock and oh yeah, at least 500 talk minutes. And I was never, ever going to text.

When I arrived at my aunt’s house, she opened a fat folder with pages of handwritten notes and questions she would later input into a Word document. She’d been having an ongoing issue with password protection and once we worked through that and a few other minor things, I wanted to show her how to add callers to her contact list.

“Oh no,” she said. “I memorize the numbers of the people I want to talk to.”

At almost-82, she also had her 10-character password memorized. When I’m her age, I hope I’m able to remember my own name!

mom-aunt g