Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Generational Divide

A conversation that took place between myself and someone in the generation before mine.

Other: What are you finding to do with yourself if you're not working in the summer?

ProfK: I am working. I'm teaching a few students online.

Other: (long pause) What are they standing on line for?

ProfK: (longer pause) I also have a blog now so that takes up some time.

Other: You always were crazy for pets. What does this one eat? No bugs I hope. Do the kids help to take care of it or does it all fall on you?

This conversation reminds me of another one held many decades ago. My husband has been working in computers since the 60s. When I got engaged someone asked me what my choson did. I said "He's in computers." The questioner answered, "Takeh, I've heard they were very big, but if he works in one they must be huge. Is it dangerous?"

I now understand why so many people talk about the weather when they get together with other people. It seems to be the one area that has not changed so radically that a generational divide can be seen.


Anonymous said...

Walking into my elderly aunt and uncle's house is like taking a trip backwards in technology time. No touch tone phones never mind cordless ones. They have a plain black dial phone that probably is a museum piece by now. Oven is about 25 years old and not self cleaning and no shabbos mode. Fridge is not self defrost. No microwave. No digital clocks. They have a cassette recorder but no VCR and no cable. No computer.They still have a record collection they play on their stereo. My kids have no idea of how they can live this way. Know what? Their lives are full and happy and they don't think they are missing anything. But yes, conversation can get very strange. There is a lot of vocabulary not shared between my kids and my aunt and uncle.

Anonymous said...

I recognize some of my family in anonymously's comment but my zaydie is exactly the opposite. He was an engineer and really savvy about technology and he has read and kept up on everything. We were over there recently and he started talking all excitedly about something and my sister asked me if that was something back from the old days. He was mentioning that cuil is taking a run at google. I had to go and research what he was talking about. He's always at least a few steps ahead of the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, some older relatives of mine have high speed internet, multiple cell phones, and an iPod. It's time to work on switching them to a DVR from their VCR...and to a Mac from a PC.

Anonymous said...

What makes my brain explode even more is when those members of the older generation possess the technology but can't use "you can email me but don't send attachments, since I don't know how to download" (?!); or "our VCR doesn't work but please don't let your kids unplug it or play with the buttons, since we like having the clock right there under the TV."

At 42 myself I feel old & behind the times. Why would I even try to get an mp3 player to work? That's what my daughter is for.

Anonymous said...

Just hastening to add that I *could* load music on an mp3 player to work all by myself -- but my kids can do it a lot faster. It's more efficient to have them do it for me.

Bas~Melech said...

LOL. Nice one. :-)

I make some headway in breaking stereotypes when I taught my grandmother how to email. My mother's doing pretty well, too -- I'm starting to regret teaching her about text messaging...

ProfK said...

Many of the assignments that I give my students must be sent to me via email. The first thing I do is assign something that requires an attachment to come with the email. You think it is only the "older" people who can't manage this? I routinely have to teach about a half dozen students how to attach something. In the very frum world in particular there is no guaruntee that a younger person will be all that knowledgeable or proficient in using a computer.