Initially, I just chalked this up to being "old" and accepting the fact I remember telephones before they were "smart" (and will admit they can make me feel "less-than-smart"). I am old enough to remember rotary dial phones (see the image above) where you had to place a finger in the hole associated with the number, then rotate the dial round to the end-stop and let the dial return under its own power. I will not go into the science behind it, but it was extremely reliable – although very hard on your manicure.
But, this is not about the history of telephones or the associated technology that has improved to the point computers that once required a large, air-conditioned room can now fit in your back pocket or handbag. This is not about us all (regardless of age) needing to be digitally literate. It is not about the fact the older we are, the larger the screen size we prefer, although we might claim it is a function of what we are used to versus admitting to declining vision as we age.
Rather, this is about a recent experience that first made me feel old. Then roll my eyes. And then open my eyes to an opportunity.
I was on the phone (a cordless landline – not a rotary dial or even a phone tethered by wires) with a customer service representative from a high-end designer company. We were discussing an order, and he said they would keep me updated. However, they could not do it via email (my preferred method of communication) but would text me using the phone number associated with my order and that he saw on Caller ID. I said that the number would not accept text messages as it was a landline, but they could leave a voice message.
Apparently, that totally confused the rep, as he repeatedly said he did not understand why they could not text me. And, I kept repeating, almost like it was a mantra, "because it is a landline." Finally, he admitted that he had no idea what a "landline" was … and I started to suggest he find someone "older" to explain it. But, then realized this was my opportunity to explain it to him.
I explained the difference between mobile phones and landlines, but also suggested he discuss the situation with his supervisor as the company sold very expensive consumer goods, and I would think many customers were older and might be using landlines. Surprisingly, he was interested in my perspective and admitted to never having thought about it. And then, he thanked me for taking the time to explain it versus just complaining. (As a customer service rep, I would guess almost all his conversations were complaints – not actual conversations).
There is so much for us to learn and share when it comes to technology and how we communicate. Some people prefer emails while others can only be reached by text; some want phone calls while others can only be reached with a "chat" feature. Regardless, our ways of communicating can be used to divide us – or unite us.
I will admit that I can be confused when confronted with new technology if you will admit that you can be confused when confronted with old technology.
|I love history and understand that “Lincoln freed the slaves,” but the Civil War was about more than slavery. It was about preserving the Union, and about states’ rights (some things never change) and westward expansion. However, once President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the war between the states would be forever remembered as a war to end slavery. Although I’ll admit that I’d never of Juneteenth until I moved to Texas. And I was surprised to learn it took two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation for slaves in Texas to be set free, but that explains why Juneteenth’s celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States. And why it was declared a federal holiday in 2021.|
|Change is never as simple as issuing proclamations. Especially since slavery represented systemic racism, inequality, and inhumanity. Real change requires words and actions, and a change in mindset. Celebrating the end of slavery is noble, but it should also serve as a reminder of where we are and how far we still have to go. Ending racism is not as simple as saying it is wrong but recognizing that it still exists is an important start.|
|Every Father’s Day , when I think of Daddy, I think about alligators and turtles. I know that might sound crazy, especially as there are so many wonderful memories, but those stand out. As does the fact that every day, he taught me about unconditional love and was always there for me. And even though he passed away over 20 years ago, the memories are as strong, both emotionally and “visually”, as if it was just yesterday. And for that, I’m so grateful.|
|I know you are probably expecting me to talk about how Father’s Day is, in many ways, a form of “equal rights" since Mother’s Day was already in existence , or maybe the business aspects of it being a “ retail holiday ”. Instead, at the risk of sounding warm and fuzzy, I will just say that dads always have a very special place in the hearts of their “little girls” … no matter how old those “girls” become.|
Wishing all dads a very Happy Father’s Day!
|This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4 th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.|
|Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.|
|I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.|
|If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory . Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.|
|I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.|
|Not really. In the case of the American flag, they needed something to communicate a new nation fighting for its freedom . But remember when I gave Natasha a set of racing flags years ago?|
|How could I forget? It was a very difficult and challenging time. And although you had already made me realize that different people like to communicate differently , the problem with Natasha wasn't so much how to communicate with her as figuring out when. We were frustrated and walking around on eggshells because we never knew when she was in a good mood or a bad mood, when it was safe to talk to her, and when she needed to be left alone.|
|Sometimes flags are the perfect way to communicate a message when words are not an option.|
|Leave it to you to use racing flags to solve what seemed like an impossible situation in a way that was not only clever but appealed to her because of her love of cars and racing. And we know where she got that from!|
|It just seemed logical. As did the cheat sheet where I basically "translated" the racing meanings of the different color flags for your use. For example, in racing, a green flag can either be the start of a race, a re-start, or just displayed to communicate safe racing. With Natasha, it would mean it was "safe" to talk to her. In racing, a yellow flag means caution and to slow down, which needs no further explanation.|
|I remember her telling me, quite emphatically, that a black flag means "Go away." Which made me laugh because it just seemed so, well, appropriate, given that's something I could see you saying.|
|On the track, it means to go to the pits, usually because you are in trouble. So, I cannot argue with your comment about it being appropriate for me. But, keep in mind that a red flag means to "Stop!"|