For years I was the go-to girl in my family when it came to technology. I remember back in Christmas 1980 when my uncle, ever on the cutting edge, got one of those hi-tech fancy gizmos called a VCR. Our extended family sat in his living room and watched the ever-blinking EE:EE like we were in a trance. We knew of the proclaimed possibilities, but we weren’t sure we believed it could possibly do all of that.
Record television shows while no one is home?
At any rate, I decided to figure it out and spent Christmas afternoon setting the clock and programming it to record All my Childrenfor my aunt and Magnum PI for my cousin. My uncle watched and smiled. It was like the whole thing was beyond him.
My uncle acted like I was a wizard and made me feel smart and special. Given all he had done for me, I loved being able to do something to help him.
At one point, he said, “It’s like she just knows how to do this. It must be a generational thing.”
Several years later when my parents got one of the amazing video recording contraptions, we repeated the scenario. For the next decade every time I came home, the VCR would be blinking EE:EE, and I would set it. Once I bought a magnet (that still graces my mom’s refrigerator) that reads, “How can I be expected to cope with life? I can’t even program my VCR.”
When she and my father used a screwdriver to “make” a disc fit into a computer a few years after that, I knew all hope was lost. In as many ways as my parents are fit and fine, they never would be hip to technological trends, gadgets and gizmos.
I felt like their technological savior, and I’ll admit it – I may have been a tat smug about my savvy.
I had my own children.
One of them turned 12.
And instantly, she knew how to hook everything up. She knew how to program every technological gizmo, no matter how large or small. She can set the time. She can make my phone perform an opera. She can make my laptop dance.
The scary part is that she does it with the same smugness I now realize I used to have. At one level, I am irritated. At another level, it is bliss. I don’t mind being at her mercy. I’m tired of following wires and finding plugs that coordinate.
She loves fixing and connecting. It comes easy to her.
It must be a generational thing.
And so the torch is passed.
At least, this is a positive way for her to exert her independence and say, “Hey, I’m not just that little girl who likes popsicles and spaghetti. There are things that I can do better than you.”
Just like a generation ago, this is a win-win for us all.