Armchair psychologist: why old fogeys don’t get new technology

I continue to fumble around with the new cell phone; I guess I’m still old-school that way. (I only accidently shunted Andy to voicemail once…) It is certainly nice to have a phone any time or place you need one, though—that kind of thing redefines the way the world works. Too bad my poor brain is struggling to comprehend, at any deep level, this brave new (modern) world it’s entering. It now reflexively has me reaching for the cell phone when there’s a perfectly good land line (not to mention one that doesn’t charge per minute for local calls) next to me, and also has me overlooking the cell phone at times when it would actually be handy.

I know I’ll adapt in relatively short order (it’s only been three days, and—as I said—I don’t talk on the phone a lot). Still, I guess this means that there might be a day in which I am an old fogey, unwilling or incapable of fully grasping the ramifications of whatever crazy technology the future holds. It’s not so much the specifics of what that technology does that should trip me up (or, I imagine, has tripped up those who already find themselves in this boat)—it’s the effect it has on how the rest of the world works. I’m not talking about a superficial understanding there, either (I’ve called people on their cell phones for years)—I mean that deep-down, know-it-in-your-gut kind of understanding that comes from being changed by that technology.

I suspect, as time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to rewire your brain for these successive reformations of the world. Each time takes a little longer to adapt to, until you hit that point where little kids point and laugh at you and your ancient ways. At some point you say screw it, ’cause you both struggle and look like a fool while you try to digest this new change—and you do so for periods that grow to be longer than what you’re really comfortable with.

Nobody likes feeling stupid, right? And we got by so long without [insert technology] anyway, why can’t we get along without it in the future?


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