Desperately seeking coolness

I was sadly informed the other night that I’m not really cool. Granted, the news came from one of my teenage nieces, but it felt like a dagger to my heart.

What isn’t cool about me? Is it my wonderful new sunglasses that fit over my prescription lenses? Is it my chunky old cell phone? Is it because I correct the grammar of my nieces and nephews? Or maybe it’s that I’ll be turning the big 4-0 in another six months.

I think Jessie’s assessment came from a combination of all four (but at least I don’t embarrass her in public, I was told!) Well, thank goodness for that.

The cool status conversation ultimately led to the retirement of my seven-year-old chunky cell phone over the weekend (It was the one thing that makes me “uncool” that I was willing to do something about!)

After months of over-analyzing the pros and cons, making several visits to the cell phone store and ultimately getting dragged to the store kicking and screaming (well, not really), I’m now the owner of a touch-screen telephone. Whether or not I’m a proud owner remains to be seen — on Tuesday I hung up on a co-worker because I tapped the wrong area on the screen. At least she (a 20-something who has grown up with technology) understood.

Sometimes, I think I would be “cooler” if I was a techno gadget geek. I’m starting to sense that my excuse (my introduction to computers was learning to play the Oregon Trail in the sixth grade) is no longer acceptable. After all, I have managed to adapt from the ancient MacWrite program and paste-up of newspaper days-gone-by to the wonderful (most of the time) on-screen design programs of today.

I’ve managed to do pretty well with e-mail for more than a decade, and I joined the Facebook bandwagon nearly two years ago, but both of those came with periods of adjustment. For instance, the first time someone sent me an e-mail with the letters “lol,” I thought the guy was telling me he loved me. (lol of course means laugh out loud, NOT lots of love — it took an embarrassing phone call to another friend to find that out!)

Because of those very adjustments, I’ve refrained from getting into the texting craze. This also, apparently, makes me “un-cool” in the eyes of a teenager. Niece Jessie would rather send 2,500 text messages in a month (no doubt sending out “lol’s” to many of her friends) than spend two minutes in an actual telephone conversation.

My biggest fear is that today’s kids won’t know how to carry on a conversation in 10 years. They prefer texting to talking, and their texting is filled with so many acronyms that I’d hate to see what they would do if they actually had to sit down and write a letter.

Personally, I’d rather answer my cell phone than reply to a text message, and I love to get hand-written notes — you know, those nice little cards sent through the mail just to say “Hi.” (Niece Jessie calls those the olden days, I believe.)

Just a couple of days ago I opened my mailbox to find a Valentine inside. Yes … a Valentine in late July. It was put there, I’ve since learned, by a couple of the little neighbor girls. The Scooby-Doo card started off my Monday morning with a, “Rou’re Roovy Ralentine!” and the hand-signed name at the bottom made me smile.

A little note in my mailbox, yep, that beats a text message any day of the week!

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