At the risk of sacrificing any future job offers from Apple or Intel, I am ready to admit a shameful secret. Despite an era of space-age phones, talking cars and teenage texters, I am practically a dinosaur. I read paper books. I get my directions from maps. I pay bills using envelopes and stamps.
Technology and I are pretty much oil and vinegar. Fire and gasoline. Popeye and Bluto.
The irony of this does not escape me. I once managed a corporate website and intranet. Back then, I lived in chronic fear of deleting critical HTML code that would crash my company's entire system. Inordinate amounts of information and access to secure files rested on me: a virtual Daffy Duck of electronics.
It was as though Gorbachev, in the midst of the Cold War, selected a simple lackey to oversee the nuclear warheads. I was that lackey. To this day, I am still relieved I didn't accidentally bomb Canada.
When our first son was born, my husband brought home a baby monitor. I was not pleased.
"What is ALL this?" I demanded as he plugged the thing into the wall.
"A monitor. So we can hear Danny when he cries."
"We live in a CONDO, Joe. I can hear when our neighbors EAT SOUP."
In a typical demonstration of why I hate technology, the baby monitor never worked. We picked up all sorts of radio stations and police transmissions, but not a single peep from our newborn.
As the kids got older, my agitation with technology only worsened as I tried to make sense of Leapsters and the Nintendo DS. I stubbornly refused to upgrade my old flip phone until the cell phone provider wrote to say they were discontinuing all leases and equipment for "antiquated" devices. The letter was made out to me, the sole vestige of Flip Phone Model #1.
I am antiquated and discontinued.
Yet somehow over the last few years, there has been a wondrous new development:
My kids are really good at this stuff.
Whether they learned it from babysitters with Angry Birds or schools with Smart Boards, my sons know more about technology than I do. They walk me through recording shows on the DVR. They help me text. They even update my iPod (which until last month still had the same 14 songs it came with when I first received it as a gift).
Some mothers dream of having children who grow up to be doctors and lawyers.
I want my own in-house IT Department.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.