Everything used to be so simple. Sesame Street is where we should all be living. Twenty years ago. It’s a little dicey on that street these days, and I have my suspicions about Mr. Roger’s neighborhood as well.
And once upon a time, I had a perfectly normal cell phone. It made phone calls, took phone calls, left messages for me to get back to. Sat there in my purse and behaved itself.
When the dreaded “year of the upgrade” rolled around, I deliberately delayed it while four more years crept by.
The debate was: to replace my phone with another “dumb” phone or to jump into the worldwide web of “smarter than a fifth grader” smart phones. Crap. I haven’t been able to help my fifth graders with math for years. Phones are all about numbers. This was not going to be pretty.
I held my breath and leaped into the 22nd century, hoping it wouldn’t be obsolete before I could transfer my contact list. There were a few months of uphill negotiations with my new smarty pants phone but the more I played with it the more I enjoyed it.
Finally there came the day of impasse, and I needed a fifth grader stat….or the nearest equivalent.
I’m sitting next to my tween-ager and casually start a conversation. “So, (fill in any name, there’s plenty to choose from), I don’t suppose you have a minute to show me something on my phone?”
There’s a ten minute silence while the kid finishes annihilating a village “like a boss” on Clash of the Clans. In kid time, that’s a 20 second pause.
“Yeah mom, what?”
“Well, I’ve been using my phone as a camera and I have about nine months of photos and a couple videos I found out that it does, but the problem is, I have no idea how to get it off my phone and into my laptop.”
“Why do you need it out of your phone?” This accompanied with an eye roll, which is impressive since his eyes have not left his iPad screen.
“So I can fix them up and email them. Maybe I can put them on my Facebook if I get around to it.”
“Just Snapchat it Mom. Or use Instagram. Or email it from your phone.”
“Look kid, I just want to have them where I can manipulate them. I need to feel in control here. Those photos are just sitting in there taunting me and there’s nothing I can do except delete them. I did find that little trashcan icon…tell me, where do these things go when you trashcan them? Is there a big dump in cyberspace where all deleted files go to be buried?”
This is not even dignified with a response, as said kid has moved on to Angry Birds. I wait respectfully while he decides whether or not to use a black bird as a bomb for more leverage.
“Moooooom,” he sighs deeply, taking out a laughing pig, “all you have to do is plug your phone into your laptop and push whatever button pops up.”
“But sweetie,” I’m really trying for patience here, “my phone didn’t come with a cord that connects those two things!”
At this point, the child has had enough. He turns fully into my face, trying to refocus his digitalized retinas. “Take the electric plug part off the end of your charger cord. Stick it in the hole.”
This is the child that I made flash cards of the alphabet for when he was four. This is the one I raised singing all the songs from Schoolhouse Rock. This, my progeny, was elected Mayor of BizTown in fifth grade. This kid is a varmint.
“My hero!” I say with a smile. Gently I pry his frozen fingers from his beloved iPad. “Now you can take a break and load the dishes into the dishwasher for me.”
Judging from the loud grumbling in the kitchen, there is no app for that.