Now my anchor is slightly lower



Hoping that stagnation would never affect me, I scoffed as older members of my family officially became "elderly" by dropping their anchors in society's river, and declining to participate with technological advances or cultural progression.  I would never hobble myself as they've done I said to myself (at the same time wondering if it's inevitable—like increased flatulence, ear-hole hair, and an Ebenezer-Scrooge demeanor).

Papa dropped into the grave before he obtained full-on elderly status.  But, as early as 55, he'd been preparing to become elderly by refusing to own an air-conditioner (even though he worked at Sears and Roebuck as an appliance salesman).  He called them 'newfangled contraptions'. 

When Nana was 68 she lowered her anchor to the bottom when it got mired in: "TV should be free. I'll be damned if I'm paying for cable."  I witnessed her begin lowering her anchor a decade earlier when she said: "I don't see a need for one of those silly answering-machines; if it's important, they'll call back when I'm home."

My mother started her bid to join the elderly when she was 59 with her refusal to receive a free computer.  She became officially elderly two years later when she rejected the gift of a DVD player and (in an eerie almost-echo of her mother's decades-earlier words) said, "I don't see a need for a cellular phone; if it's important, leave me a message and I'll call back when I get home."

I had two guests visiting all last week.

Two Twittering, Facebooking, Droid and iPhone addicts.  They are both single women in their late thirties (which I mention because, otherwise, you may confuse their actions with those of immature young people).

If they were awake, their computers were on.  When watching TV with me, I think they occasionally looked around their monitors to see the screen.  During meals they routinely checked their Squire connection (usually every time a conversation was not about them) and they seemed to spend more time reading and thumb-typing than talking with us.  Also, a bakers-dozen times a day, they felt the need to share a "really funny post" or a "hilarious friend comment" (which always necessitated also hearing their wonderfully witty responses).

Three nights ago I took them to a local blues bar and while I and my paramour sat in the back and listened to the bands, both of our guests faces remained lit from below by their phone's glow—rarely looking up.  Three friends of acquaintances of our guests (strangers I met the day before, whom I'll never see again) brought a full-sized notebook computer—their faces remained lit from the front during all the sets, by all three bands.

My guests were never apart for more than the time it takes to shit-n-shower, but I overheard them say to each other, more than once: "Did you get the message I just sent you?"

Yesterday I took one of them on a hike.  The squish of our feet along the muddy path melded with the wind in the branches, the chittering of squirrels, and the scree-chirp of birds...only to be interrupted by the tone of her Droid's incoming messages.

"Wow, I can't believe I can get a signal out here!"

"Yea, this is Forest Park. It may appear desolate, but we're still inside the city limits of Portland."  The cadence of my reply sounded—to my own ears—as if I was channeling Eeyore. 

From that point on, she posted Facebook updates about the hike, as we hiked (and I wished I'd chosen to drive to Tillamook State Forest).

I don't see a need for those newfangled contraptions; if it's important, I'll blog about it later from home. 

Alas!  How little does the memory of these human inhabitants enhance the beauty of the landscape!  —  Henry David Thoreau

1 comment:

Angela said...

thank you so much for the link! (And the zombies thank you, too!)