No more tech gifts, please.

Yes, we are retired. Yes, we like to be active. But maybe you think we sit around watching Family Feud and reruns of Gunsmoke and I Love Lucy. Well, maybe we do, sometimes. But we’re busy all the time! Maybe you need to be clued in about retiring. Actually, retirement is really keeping busy with all the things that you didn’t have time to do when you were working AND keeping up with life. We work hard!

I’m way too busy learning how to work the new computer you bought us that updates all the updates that all organizations’ websites have updated. Constantly. I ‘work’ all the time creating and remembering new passwords for everything. They tell us, ‘don’t use the same passwords.’ — yeah,right. ‘Create new pin numbers for every password and change your passwords and pin numbers frequently to avoid fraud or theft identity’ What!? Frequently? It took forever to learn and remember these! They say, ‘Don’t write them down’? Are you crazy? I’d never get in anywhere. I can’t remember what I went into the next room for and you want me to remember 16 personal IDs and pin numbers? And then change them? Frequently? That’s a full-time job.

Kids – please go easy on the tech gifts. Like the digital camera that does everything but talk to you to explain how to work it. The how-to booklet is 2 inches thick and I may as well read the foreign language booklets’ that came with it and learn the same thing. The pictures are helpful. There are functions on the camera that will never be used in my lifetime.

And then there’s the new cell phones you gave us. We never use cell phones except on the road if there is an emergency or we’re late. These new cell phones also have 2 inch instruction booklets. I think you can take pictures with them but wait, didn’t you get us that digital camera? The cell phone was pinging bells a lot and I see there are 53 messages in my ‘inbox’ that I have not read. Then I would have to text back and the miniscule keyboard was not made for cataract-corrected eyes or arthritic fingers. The phone has more applications than my vacuum cleaner has attachments.

 And that is another story – another gift – a vacuum cleaner that hangs up and never runs out of power because you constantly charge the batteries. Never put it aside and make a phone call – it needs that charge constantly. It’s like a part-time job with the vacuum cleaner. I liked my old one that always started with a plug. What happened to plugs? They were so easy.

The kids also bought us a scanner, a digital photo copier, a DVD player, a digital CD player, and a great digital home phone that is still not hooked up. In fact, all these things are not yet hooked up. The warranties are already expired and I’m still ‘working’ on the instruction booklets. Reading all these tiny lettered miniscule instruction books through a magnifying glass and trying to use them – is hard work.  Retirees don’t work? And just when you finally learn and adjust, they change EVERYTHING.

What do you mean this computer doesn’t have Microsoft Word? How is it different from Works? Oh, just read this 100 page booklet. If you want it in English, you have to go to this website and order it. Just put in your credit card info and it’s advisable to change your password and pin afterwards. Oh, okay.

What’s Vista? They took XP away and gave me Vista? I liked XP. It took me a long time to learn XP. Why can’t I keep it? Oh, my email isn’t compatible with XP? – I lost my old emails? and I lost some software packages? – I have to upgrade? How do I do that? Oh, OK, just put the instruction book over there with the other ones.

The kids bought us a GPS. Don’t ask me why – we go to the same places all the time. But we might become senile on Route 501 someday and at least it will talk us home. The ‘box’ even gets a little testy and says ‘recalculating’ when we take what we know is a shorter route and it keeps ‘recalculating’ . Her voice is very bossy – nasal and sassy. I’m waiting for her to put us on hold and give us music or worse, disconnect us and leave us stranded.

The dictionaries need to come up with a new definition for ‘retirement’. It’s changed from sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch in seclusion and withdrawal. The retirement people we see are in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s and still active in church, community, and social events. Check out the exercise places – lots of white hair. Retirement has everything!

My new proposed definition for retirement: A time to relax, replay, retouch, restart, revamp, retrieve, repose, replenish, reclaim and rejoice. And recycle — tech gifts.
© Marie Coppola  March 2015