Entry 12 – March 26th, 2017
Straining the Sands of Time…or a blip on the radar screen
I’m not quite sure when it begins to creep into your thoughts, but eventually the thought of your own mortality is something that you’ll have to face. It might appear in the briefest instant when you notice a wrinkle or a gray hair in the mirror during the morning routine…maybe as a series of flashes when you brake hard in traffic to avoid the car in front of you and you’re not quite sure you’ll stop in time. For some it’s when they reach those milestone birthdays that they dread and a party supply store makes a few bucks on black balloons and tombstone cards…or after they have a major-medical procedure that they weren’t sure they’d see the other side of. The point is…we’re mortal. We have a finite span of time in which to spend our time on this earth and at some point, we’ll come face to face with just those thoughts…but what happens when you’re not sure just how you fit into the allotted time that you have left on this spinning blue mudball?
A few years ago, my grandmother had been in the hospital with some medical trouble and she’d been really down. That recent bout was not the first time she’d had a medical scare in the last few years and she has been increasingly aware of her remaining years, making us all aware that she knows she is nearing the end of her terrestrial journey and that she is ready to go home when the Lord calls. You can imagine that this doesn’t necessarily make conversations easy since most of us would rather not dwell on the fact that she might soon pass on. I did get over to the hospital to sit with her a couple of times during her stay and in one of our conversations she alluded to the idea that she feels like a relic in our ever increasingly digital age. We watched as one of the med techs came in to check and replace the battery in one of the devices monitoring her vitals. It was a small box that had a few leads running to a patch on her hand and the tech explained that it was transmitting her data over a wireless signal to the main desk so the staff could keep an eye on her levels and he just wanted to make sure it continued to run smoothly. After he left she remarked on how out of place she felt amidst all the increasing technology. She didn’t have a computer hooked to the internet for very long and apparently, there was some sort of scam that they were almost victim of and ever since she is afraid that it could happen again. (the fact that some scammer called their house a few months before this to tell them that I was in jail in Amsterdam and they needed money to get me released has not alleviated those fears…but that’s another story entirely)
Grandma and Grandpa will both be 88 this year, next month in fact. The speed at which technology has been increasing and changing just in the latter period of their lives is staggering and I can see why it would scare her. The world being full of people that want to take advantage of the elderly just makes it worse and truly makes my heart hurt. It takes a person operating at seriously low depths to scam children and elders…we should be treasuring them and learning from the naiveté of the young and the wisdom of the old…not stealing from them. I could go on about that but it would take this into a whole different area and become a bit of a rant…which is not my intention.
I wonder what our digital world will look like when I reach 88…will I feel as out of place as my grandparents do? Will the technology cause me to fear I’ve been left behind in a different age? I like to think that I’m pretty savvy with this stuff but let’s be honest…when I graduated from high school 22 years ago, we didn’t even have a computer in the house…I could use one at school or the library. Now I’m on a laptop working wirelessly and my phone can do everything that first home computer we got in 1996 did…and more. So yeah, it’s safe to say that given 48 more years the technology will increase 100 times over and it may be me who feels like a relic from another era that’s long since passed its expiration date. Of course, there’s also the question of whether or not I even make it to 88…but we’ll save that discussion for another time.