croneicles1“Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Bette Davis said that, and I agree with her 100 percent. Staying tough and upright on that slippery slope demands diligence and a sharp mind. Those of us who succeeded in dragging our carcasses across the finish line into the new millennium have technology to assist us in our struggle. Electronic gadgetry may not repair the damage done by time and gravity, but it will, by damn, keep our brain cells sparking and our synapses snapping.

Yesterday morning, believing masterful prose possible on my iPad if I had a keyboard, I journeyed to Office Depot where the bright, clear minds of youngsters waited to help me. After several long minutes of watching me stare at the large display of cases with keyboards, cases without keyboards, keyboards without cases, and cases inside other cases, a nice young man came to my rescue and together we selected a darling little Logitech Bluetooth stand-alone keyboard.

Spirits running high, I rushed home to begin my masterpiece. Why and when did they stop providing instruction manuals with electronic gadgets? Surely even kids need instruction manuals, don’t they? Well, maybe not.

I remained calm. I had stayed *tuned in* so was not without resources. A quick click and a few words typed into Google mined an illustrated how-to document, several forum discussions, and a YouTube video starring a geeky young man explaining exactly what I needed to do to “pair” the keyboard to the iPad. Why do they call it “pair” instead of connect, do you suppose?

After several frustrating attempts, the marriage was consummated. I carried the happy couple out onto my porch, sat down in my rocking chair and began typing: Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. As I played with buttons and keys, I recalled something from the video about pairing my keyboard to my iPhone. What a cutting edge notion! Why I would ever want to use my keyboard with my phone doesn’t matter — I would be akamai, plugged-in, savvy. Performing another ceremony, the already-wedded phone became one with the keyboard, a proper ménage à trois of electronic gadgetry.

Exhausted, I retired for a much-deserved nap. When I awoke, my iPad no longer cleaved to its keyboard. What the hell happened? Did the iPad break off contact in a fit of jealous pique when he caught the keyboard paired with another behind his back?

The next morning, I took my divorced gadgets back to Office Depot, and the same nice young man confirmed that the Bluetooth (the connection thingy in the keyboard) was monogamous, giving affection to only one device at a time. My young hero un-paired the phone, re-paired the tablet, and restored harmony. I patted him affectionately as I went out the door.

Now I sit on the deck of a waterfront restaurant, sip a glass of white wine and watch pelicans dive for fish while seagulls squabble over scraps. As I admire my companionable tablet and keyboard on the table in front of me, I reflect on the possibility that they and their brethren might abhor old people. When I first examined the keyboard at the store, I heard a groan coming from inside the thing, an *oh no, an old person* kind of groan. I imagined parts rolling their tiny capacitor eyes and shaking their little capacitor heads, dreading the hours of poking that lay ahead as the old person muttered about the good old days when a two-pronged plug stuck into a wall made things go without any fuss.

But I cannot concern myself with the delicate feelings of electronic gadgetry. I neither give in nor give up my quest to conquer the ups and downs of my slick slope with dignity, and for that I need electronics. I shall strive to unlock the mysteries of why the dingy thingy went ding and the keyboard unpaired and the essay I wrote vanished from the screen. I know that every battle I fight and win keeps the Dread Pirate Alzheimer imprisoned in the basement and Dead-Eye Dementia huddled in his closet. I further resolve to daily feed my mind hands full of colorful bonbons from the huge candy box called the information highway.

croneicles2And whenever and wherever possible, I shall seek out every blinking, buzzing, pulsing, humming electronic gadget created so that when I slide down the other side of my slope, I need only pair my electronic device to the great Star Trek in the sky and command:

“Beam me up, Scottie.”


  1. Phyllis says

    Oh, can I relate! I have to rely on my nieces and nephews to navigate me through the technology highways. I must admit that I also believe that my computer, iPad, and phone secretly conspire to thwart me at their pleasure. Artificial intelligence?? I think not!

    • Ann Winfred says

      Ha! But the darlings don’t let us lack off either, do they? They’ll keep us young(er) or kill us off — either way, we’ll be *COOL.* LOL

  2. says

    Ann, you’ve done it again. You’ve made the objects into living, breathing beings who have the wit and will to prank us into submission. I SO identify!

  3. says

    Honestly, kids can figure out all these new gadgets in a few minutes. I’m getting better but still get frustrated. I’m saying this because I like LOGIC! Control Alt Delete to put your computer on?? Really? Does that make any sense logically at all? What happened to on and off? But we all gotta keep up otherwise we will be sitting in the dark by ourselves. It might take us longer to figure things out but once we do oh my what a great feeling it is!!! But be sure to write it down!!!

    • Ann Winfred says

      You’re dead right about “writing it down.” Post-It notes are a Crone’s best friend!! And know what the next best thing is? Laughing about it!

  4. NormaJane says

    Fortunately, my whip-smart 9 year old granddaughter can help me with all things APPLE! But I’m all alone for MICROSOFT and related. You should have seen me trying to hook up a new smart TV last week! Sad. The frigging TV may indeed be smart, but the operator –not so much. I’m still not able to “stream”; the next challenge awaits! njs

    • Ann Winfred says

      We’re all alone for MICROSOFT related mysteries, my dear friend. It is the devil’s favorite plaything! Grab that 9 year old for the streaming issue. Guaranteed she’ll have it figured out before you will! Good luck.

  5. Patricia Dunn-Fierstein says

    Ann, You’re writing is getting better than ever. Love it! It’s hysterical, even the second time around.

    • Ann Winfred says

      Awww, thanks for noticing, Patricia. I am starting to build up some craft muscles, I think. Sure is a lot of hard work, isn’t it? Imagine – I once thought all I had to do was sit down and brilliant prose would flow out the end of my pen, camera-ready and picture-perfect! Bet the universe is still snickering at me behind its hand!

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