Aug 17, 2010

High-Tech/Low-Tech Birthday

Here it is in a nutshell. Er, eggshell. I had a most satisfactory birthday yesterday, consisting of heights of high-tech and the most basic of low-tech.

It started out with a spot of electritioning by my sweetheart. The most spoiled chickens in the world now have a light in their henhouse, for egg-encouragement during the shortening days of fall and oncoming winter. I don't want them to stop laying before they even start, do I. So they have a light and an automatic timer to turn it on for a few extra hours in the morning and in the early evening. High tech.

They also have a remote sensor for a 'weather station' (fancy name for a thermometer readout) which sits on my desk. When I get up in the morning I want to know how my girls are doing! More high tech. When I took this photo around 1:00 pm it showed it was 102 F in the henhouse! Poor dears! Maybe a little fan or mini AC unit is needed?

Just kidding.

Meanwhile, I was down at my local acupuncturist's office, getting a special birthday treatment. Definitely low tech.

Then my boon companion and I set out to pick out rocks for a garden project I have been stalled on for a couple of years. Namely, turning this mess

into a nice backyard oasis, with gravel paths and a flagstone-paved sitting area.

Rocks. How low-tech can you get? Especially since they will be installed by hand. Hands. My hands.

But then, instead of heading back towards home, my chaffeur for the day pointed the car east, towards one of the ubiquitously ugly local big box store shopping centers. He was looking forward to setting me up with a cell phone made earlier than 1806. I have had my current cell phone -- begrudgingly -- for about 5 years. I say begrudgingly because I didn't really want one in the first place, but accepted a hand-me-down phone (I was its 3rd owner) only because I was going on a trip without my ace travel companion and needed to be able to call for moral support, etc.

I admit I am still baffled when I see people walking around, talking all the time on their mobile phones. I barely want to talk on the phone when I am home -- why would I want to be pestered by the damn things when I am out in the world? I know that attitude makes me a dinosaur, and I'm ok with that. So it has been perfectly appropriate that I have been using a dinosaur cell phone all this time too. Witness my 10-year old cell phone -- battered, hard to use, and possessing only three functions. Making & receiving calls, sending & receiving texts, and something else.

Since I got it, it has boldly proclaimed, on its front display, the cryptic word 'Meeting'. I have asked everyone I know, I have searched the manual 3 separate times, and have never been able to remove it. Ironically, and not too surprisingly, once or twice a month, I actually do have a meeting, but of course since I haven't input that information into the phone, I ignore it.

I think we can agree to put this in the 'low tech of high tech' category.

We emerged from the T-Mobile store an hour or so later, with a coolest-of-the-cool, newest-of-the-new (until next week), smarter-than-I-am smart phone. Here's the fun part for me -- aside from the colorful icons which I adore. It not only has a GPS in it -- it IS a GPS. This is one of those epic, life-fulfilling moments one gets if one stays around long enough and is lucky, I suppose.

For the last decade or so I have watched with amazement, I suppose along with everyone else my age, the leaps and bounds forward of all things digital and cyber. But one of the cool things that has managed to sneak up on me is this whole GPS phenomenon. You see, I am responsible for it. Not directly, but through 50+ years of wishing, hoping, fantasizing and just plain magic. I have had a terrible sense (ie no sense) of direction my whole life long. When I was a kid this only resulted in my losing my family now and then on vacations or in large department stores. Nothing too scarring.

But beginning when I got my driver's license I became more and more aware that what the world needed was some kind of device in the car that would have a map in it, know where the car was, and could then show you the route in live-action visuals. I admit I didn't go so far in my imaginings as to think there would be a voice attached to it. If I had, I would have expected an exasperated male voice saying things like: 'no, no, not THAT way. Turn around right now and go back to where I told you to turn.' or 'you IDIOT! why are you taking this exit? you're going to end up on the wrong side of the river -- again!'

And here I am 61 years old, and I've managed to live along to the day when there is such a thing. I tell ya.

The smart-ass phone has a little mount for the dashboard, and it is easy as anything to tell it where you want to go. You clip it in, and out comes a soothing female voice that never calls you names, never loses patience, and never accepts defeat. She didn't know about a couple of recent changes, but we'll give her a chance to learn. I've named her Grace. Highest of high tech (for me).

And then, for the final glorious moment of the day, we returned home to find out that my favorite chicken, Betty

had laid the first egg in our happy new flock.

I think the day definitely ended with low tech. Happy birthday!


  1. The Happy Birthday Egg! Betty knew what to give you for your birthday!

    I am quite jealous of your snazzy new phone. I have an old one that my son refuses to use in public!! ; ) It's not the "Jitterbug", the cell phone for OLD PEOPLE, but it's close to it!

    And wow... all that manly activity going on around your homestead. That's a grand birthday present as well.

    Congratulations to you and Betty. And please accept my sincere wishes for many happy returns of the day!

  2. Actually, I may have waited just long enough for the fancy new phones to be comprehensible for us boomers. This one is surprisingly easy to use so far. Whew. To be honest, I've seen the ads for the 'Jitterbug' and although the simplicity, 'this is just a phone' concept appealed to me, I hated the idea of buying something that was so obviously and condescendingly dumbed down for 'seniors'. It's bad enough, going down the road to old fogey-ism without meaning to, half the time. I don't intend to embrace it!

  3. Oh yeah, I'm with you there! Old Age is going to have tackle me in mid-stride... which gets shorter and less sure each year. I ain't going down without a fight, and I AIN'T buying a freakin' Jitterbug!! lol