Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Old Fogey Mode???

It seems there are a whole lotta folks coming into some sort of Old Fogey Mode lately. Several of my friends, including a few who have been around for more than a couple of decades, have suddenly turned into their parents. Or some such. They've been saying stuff like: "I miss the days when..." or "I just don't understand these kids today...." or "That music 'they' listen to is nothing but a bunch of noise"...etc., etc., etfreakincetera.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not all that crazy about some of the stuff that's called "music" right now. But then...there are lots of music genres, even from "my" day that sound like a bunch of noise to me. So I don't think it's necessarily about the times, but rather about choices. {there's that word again...}. Perhaps it is a bit daunting to some people to realize that they're not hip to the technology of the times. Maybe it scares them. Or maybe they're just too freakin' lazy to learn. Or maybe (heaven forbid!!!) they really are turning into their parents. What a travesty!!!

One friend in particular has always been quite a clever and witty fella. He's smart, charming, easy-going and a joy to be around. Mostly. But lately he's been saying these kinds of things and it's a bit alarming to hear; especially coming from him. He was bitching about "new-fangled phones" and "stupid computers". He was also going on a rant about how "none of these kids could find their way around the block without some kind of navigation system. They don't know how to drive a stick (manual transmission) or change a tire. What is to become of us?"

I had to take a long breath lest I turn into the proverbial preacher on her soapbox. It really surprised me to hear these words coming out of his mouth. So I waited. I waited until there was a long enough pause to know that he was done ranting. And then I said, "You know I love you more than my boots, right?" And his immediate response was, "Uh-oh. I hear a lecture coming." We both laughed and then I said, "No. No lecture. I just want to pose a few questions. What to do you suppose your parents thought when you came home with your first cell phone? Do you remember that? Do you remember what they said when you told them you were going to move across the country? Or when you moved in with your first girlfriend OUT of wedlock? What do you suppose they were thinking then?"

I could tell he was really thinking about it. He didn't say anything for a bit...and neither did I. And then he said, "I guess I see your point. But I still don't get how these kids can go through life without the tools to navigate their way without the use of electronics. It's just stupid!"

I'll spare you the rest of the conversation. Suffice to say that by the end of it he was softening up to the idea of an evolutionary process. And that he wasn't quite so angry about his earlier rantings. But he never would soften to the idea that computers are brilliant tools that can open up the entire world, right here at our fingertips. He has one. In fact, he even bought his (80 year old) mom one for Christmas. Something he now regrets because he can't help her understand how to use it any better than "those kids" can understand their innate sense of direction. He swore to me that he does read my emails but he will NOT send any back. I asked why he even bothered. He had no answer to that.

It left me feeling a bit unnerved. I wanted to run over there and show him how fun computers are. I wanted to bring up some "new" music that I just know he'd love. I wanted to give him a whack on the head! But I couldn't do any of those things because he lives clear on the other side of the country. So I left it alone and told him I didn't care whether or not he emailed me, so long as we still had our weekly phone visits. He seemed happier when we hung up but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was losing a part of this man who was once one of the most vivacious and fun-loving people I know.

I wonder if this isn't exactly the kind of thing that makes people "old". I wonder if these kinds of insidious resentments just kind of sneak up on you until you wake up one day and find some Old Fogey staring back at you in the mirror. I pray that he, along with my other friends who are fighting so hard against our evolution, will see their way to a fresh new outlook. Otherwise, I may soon have old friends who are "old" in more ways than one.

Who'da thunk?

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