Touch ‘M’ for ‘Murder’


‘The time I out-teched my Techie daughter’

Boy, are my arms tired. I just flew back from the Coast; the Oregon Coast, that is, where I spent a most marvelous three days with two of the coolest women on the Planet, my Mom and my Favorite Sister Laura. (I’ve told her many times that she would be my Favorite Sister even if I had more than one sister, which I swear is the truth even though I can’t exactly test my theory.)

Favorite Sister, pictured at left in tiny hat. Mom, on right. All on the Oregon Coast, just 3 days ago (sigh)

The reason she’s my fave — today’s reason anyway — is that she gave me the idea for this post. Which is about the time I out-teched the most tech-savvy person I know, a person in her mid-twenties who holds a seriously important job at a company so techalicious that I have absolutely no idea what it is they do. It is called Kensho, and you can, if so inclined, read about it here. My brain, as well as my arms, is way too tired to try to ‘splain it to you.

The Person in Question is, of course, The Child.

The Child gets introduced to Technology at an early age

I had just finished showing my Mom how to back up her iPhone and her iPad and we all got to talking tech. (Yes, my Mom is totally tech-savvy. She emails and googles and texts as well as I do. And she’s way ahead of me with emoji. She even has an avatar. Heck, I don’t even have an avatar. Maybe I should get her to make me one.)

My mom can stroke a cat and swipe a screen — at the same time

Anyway, we three are talking tech, specifically about the new iPhone — which, as you know, costs about a jillion dollars and does everything except dance and sing — when Laura goes ‘Hey, remember that time you tried to show The Child how to work the dial phone?’ (Except she used The Child’s real name.)

Well yes, I did remember. I had read somewhere that it’s a good idea to keep a regular land-line phone around the house in case some disaster happens involving power outages, since cellphones or even those cordless non-cell phones can run ‘dry’ with no electricity. You just plug your trusty landline model into your phone jack and you’re good to go. At least till the food all runs out and the rioting starts in the streets. (Oops, that last part is going to be in a post about Doomsday Dude.)

The Trusty Landline, AKA Princess Phone, we keep around for emergencies

I’d saved this old Princess Phone just for Disaster Duty. Remember Princess Phones? They were pretty slick-looking — and considered rather cutting edge back in the days when to ‘swipe’ meant to steal your sister’s chocolate bunny and a ‘software upgrade’ meant you got a new puppy.

We’ve got tech in our genes: The Child and my Mom collaborating over a keyboard

So I haul out Miss Phone and hand it to The Child. She looks a tad confused and asks ‘But how do you use it?’ Which is when I realize that she has never seen a dial phone before. Why, even in the picture at the top of this post, when she is a mere toddler, The Child is holding a touch-tone phone. Ancient, large, and with an antenna, but touch-tone nonetheless. Touch-tone is just a ‘touch’ away from touch-screen. But dialing? Well, that’s a different, unknown, story. At least to The Child.

I take the Princess Phone from her and demonstrate. ‘See? You put your finger in one of these holes with a number in it — and rotate the dial. Like so!’

Well. Try as she might, The Child just cannot do it. She sticks a finger in a hole to get at the number, then pulls it out. She tries to rotate, but her finger sort of wimps out and she lets go too soon. She even tries using a pencil (yes, she knew what a ‘pencil’ was) when I tell her that manicured ladies of my acquaintance dialed that way to save their nails. No dice; no dialing.

She can’t dial a phone, but she can Face Time like nobody’s business. Which is what she is doing here one Thanksgiving when she could not be present because she was honing her tech skills across The Pond

Oh well. I guess there will always be things that Mother Knows Best. Even if it’s only dialing a phone.

New York City. October 2017

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19 thoughts on “Touch ‘M’ for ‘Murder’

  1. I remember those dial phones. My grandparents had 4 of them around the house. Didn’t you hate it when you messed up or didn’t take the dial all the way to the finish line? Lol!

  2. Hi,
    That is the cutest child. I love tech. I feel I am becoming– what is the stereotype– a tech geek? a tech nerd? I agree with Judy. That baby totally stole the focus– too cute.

  3. HAHA. They think they know everything 🙂 We had toys that taught us stuff like dialing phones (thanks Fisher Price). We still have a landline, plug into the wall, doesn’t need batteries phone for the times we have no power. It’s touch tone, though. No rotary phones here.

    • Yesssss!!! I remember having a toy phone. The Child, on the other hand, had a toy computer. It’s in one of the pix in this post. And, by golly, I think it’s Fisher Price!

  4. I bought an antique rotary dial phone to sit on an antique bench – what my Mom called a “gossip bench.” When my stepdaughter was about 10, I heard her explaining how to use it to a friend that was visiting. The friend thought it was the coolest thing!
    I can always use it in a pinch, but unfortunately the only numbers I remember by heart are my best friend’s from 45 years ago, and a bunch of radio jingles!

    • Hey, my mom had a “gossip bench” too! Haven’t heard that term in years — haven’t seen a rotary phone in years, either. Well, except for my Princess Phone. Isn’t it funny when we hear Young People explaining how to use things like these? Anyway. Hang on to that phone. You may need it!

  5. I think my first Face Time experience was receiving a ‘call’ from my older brother & spouse — I was so surprised to see her name show up on my iPad that I forgot how to answer the call! Heh. We old fogies. For sure.

    • Yes, that Face-Timing takes a bit of practice. Though most of the time I would actually prefer that people NOT see MY face (!) Just yesterday I had to decline to accept a FT call from Italy (nephew/wife/baby) because I was driving at the time. Too bad. They might have been able to watch me being pulled over by a State Trooper!

  6. Deborah

    There had been an office fire way back in the day at a place I worked and they kept an old black dial phone as a reminder, not usable of course, it was all melted and surreal looking, like it had survived a nuclear apocalypse. I think youngsters today see some of the artifacts of my generation in the same way without even fire damage.

    • Omigoodness! I would love to see that melted, surreal dial phone. And I bet, in the case of a real nuclear apocalypse, the dial phones, like the cockroaches, would still be with us. BTW, I agree with you on the artifacts and the younger gen (!)

  7. Hey, Alice. Your daughter had the cutest little clothes. What a baby! I know this is about out-teching your daughter but I thought I would mention the outfits first. Nice kitty, too. I had one like that. Oh, by the way, you haven’t lost your funny bone. xxoo

    • Hey thanks Judy! She really did have some cute clothes. And actually let me dress her in them. Well, up to about age 7. As for my funny bone, let’s just hope it doesn’t go the way of the dial phone (!)

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