August 06, 2010

An iPod is Not Ancient Technology

They say that age is a state of mind, whomever they is anyway. Those same nameless, faceless people also say that you are only as old as you feel. I suppose that it is a good thing as I feel very young and know that I am far younger than The Shmata Queen.

Anyhoo, I recently took part in a group in which we discussed technology and how we use it within our daily lives. As part of the discussion the moderator took time to quiz us all on what sorts of gadgets we used on a regular basis. The collection of devices was fairly uniform. We all had computers and smartphones. All of us used them on a regular basis and agreed that they had become a big part of our lives.

It was a normal conversation that didn't contain anything particularly noteworthy until the college student said that she also had really old technology- a first generation iPod. That got my attention, in large part because of the manner in which she said it.

In her eyes it really was old- so old that it made her part of the old timer's club. I sat there for a moment absorbing the impact of her comment. I have a first generation iPod as well as the most current iPod Touch. But I hadn't ever realized that I looked at the iPod as new technology.

It hadn't ever occurred to me that the generation gap would be pronounced in this manner. We weren't talking about rotary phones, typewriters or beepers. We were talking about something that isn't very old as if it was a phonograph. We were talking as if it was an old turntable the played 33s, 45s and 78s.

I am not old enough to be spoken to like that. Call me sir and I still look for my father because you can't be talking to me. But perception is a funny thing. Wasn't that long ago that someone told me that I couldn't possibly be in my forties- they figured me for 35. I smiled and then laughed because I remember when 35 was old.

And then I remember again how quickly life experiences change your perspective and point of view. It is almost a decade since 9/11. The girl who talked about the ancient iPod said that she was 20 or 21. Subtract a decade and you have a girl who was in grade school when the towers fell. She doesn't remember how easy business travel used to be because she wasn't old enough to have ever done it.

She doesn't remember the fall of The Berlin Wall or the first Gulf War. Those things are history to her and I suppose to us too. But my generation and those older lived through them- we see them differently than just something we read about in our history classses.

And that my friend is why I left that place feeling a tad older than when I went in.

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