by Cassondra Murray
Do y'all have wooly worms where you live? We do.
I've always had a thing for wooly worms. You have to admit that even if you dislike bugs in general, it's hard to hate a wooly worm. They don't fly around and make a racket when they sproing-oing-oing into your screens at night. They don't bite you or suck your blood, and they don't get tangled in your hair and cause screaming hissy fits. They're fuzzy, unassuming, and non-threatening. The Zen of caterpillars. If you mess with them, they curl up and play dead. I don't like being crawled on by anything with more than two legs, but I will let a wooly worm meander across my hand and up my arm.
Wooly worms are famous around here for foretelling the length and severity of the winter season. If they're light-colored, the old folks say, it's supposed to be an easy winter. The darker they are (or the broader the dark section of wooly fuzz) the harsher the winter will be.
Here in Kentucky, in early November, there are usually a few last warm, wonderful days that reach into the lower 70s, and as you're driving down the road on those days, you'll see the fuzzy little guys crawling across the pavement in front of you. Sometimes there will be several in view at once. This time of year wooly worms are always in a big hurry, searching for a warm place to hibernate for the winter. They race across the asphalt at breakneck wooly-worm speed. I sometimes swerve across the road to avoid them. I mean, who wants to smoosh the teddy bear of caterpillars? But no matter how fast they go, they're never fast enough. I always end up running over some.
The poor, peaceful little creatures, no matter how they try, are no match for the slick speed of my modern machine. They can't outrun it, can't get out of the way of it, and inevitably end up smooshed. Flattened by progress.
I can relate.
Two weeks ago I bought a new cell phone. One with a touch pad. I did my research, went into a store and poked at the one I liked, emailed my buddy who tests phones for a living and she gave her stamp of approval to my phone choice. Got it activated and left the store. That's the one I bought, there on the left.
I could not make a phone call. I couldn't get the dang thing to let me into my contact list to find the number. I had to go to a parking lot, stop, get out the quick start guide, and look at the instructions to make a call.
Later I realized my pictures had not transferred from my old phone when they fixed up my new SIM card. Hey, I was just proud that I actually took pictures with a freakin' phone. But now I was going to lose them. So I took it back to the store. Cutie pie behind the phone counter, who was about 20, poked around in the phone's menu.
"You can bluetooth them," Cutie Pie said.
"You can bluetooth them to your new phone."
Now I will admit that when bluetooth technology arrived in the world, I pumped my fist in the air and said, "yessssssss!" Because I have spent so much of my life driving long-distance, and having to do other stuff WHILE driving, I immediately saw the beauty of a tiny earpiece through which I could operate my cell phone. I was instantly hooked.
But I can send pictures from my old, dead phone, to my new, cool phone using bluetooth? I stared for a minute. Six months ago I couldn't change phones and keep my same phone number (this is an exaggeration, I realize, but it's that speed thing again..time has collapsed and I'm behind.) Cutie Pie obviously sensed my distress, even though she never stopped punching buttons and looking at the phones. She held my old one in one hand, and the new one in the other hand, and punched buttons on both at the same time.
"Let me see what you're doing," I said. "So I can watch what menus you're navigating through to do this."
"Really it would be easier," Cutie Pie said, "if you got somebody you know to do it for you....." She paused as she punched more buttons. "You know, like....a kid."
And that's when I knew.
I am a wooly worm.
A hapless,fuzzy weather prognosticator, tottering through a doppler radar world. Overwhelmed by the slick, fast, digital machine of progress. And although I race at breakneck wooly-worm speed across the pavement, I am destined to be flattened. A middle-aged chick who needs to ask a little kid to help her understand her stinkin' phone.
This has not always been the case. I was once technologically on the ball. I could operate any kind of recording or sound reproduction equipment, do light and sound production for stage and broadcast, and set up satellite links for television remotes. I could make any number of international long-distance calls or have directory assistance billed to my home phone number without ever once speaking to a live person. I could do it just by punching numbers into the...uhm.........well....the pay phone.
But between then and now, digital technology happened, ones and zeroes took over the world, and somewhere along the way I...well, I grew fuzz.
I resisted technology, I suppose, because I hate, on principle, to embrace something that is old before I open the box, and also because I think it's a little silly to believe that I NEED to be able to take videos and then email them to friends ALL WITH MY PHONE. Perhaps it's my resistance to the instant-gratification society we've become. NOOOOOO, I can't wait to get home to do this. I must email it NOW. They must see it noooooooowwwwwwwwww or we will all die.
Never mind the piles of cell phones, like this pile on the right, which are going into landfills due to this ravenous hunger for disposable technology. The speed of it...well, that's another thing. There's no time to smell the roses. Heck, we'll just generate them digitally right here in front of us. Yes, they're flat, and they smell a bit like rose-scented plastic, but what the hey, they sure are FAST!
Alas, the tide of technology has overtaken me. I had a pivotal birthday a month ago. Not one of the BIG pivotal ones, but pivotal enough. And for this birthday, which made me feel not just old, but olde, I got......drum roll please..... an iPod. A pretty purple one, specially engraved with a poem Steve wrote for me. My friend, Adam, who is MUCH younger than I am, came over and helped me figure it out. I have 58 songs loaded so far.
Then a few days later I got a cool cable that lets me play my iPod over my car stereo, which is awesome. Then a couple of weeks later I got the touchpad phone. (NO, I do NOT have internet on my phone. Yet.) Today I got two gigs of new RAM for my desktop, to speed up my digital world and......another drum roll please.....a wireless router.
I'm typing this blog and posting it to the internet while I sit on a stool at my kitchen counter. I'm feeling distinctly less fuzzy. I am being assimilated. Clearly, resistance is futile.
The guy who sold me the wireless router was NOT the same Cutie Pie who told me, in so many words, that I was a wooly worm, but he was much younger than I. Still, he was nice enough to say, "I've worked with computers all my life, but I took two years off from the business a while back, and I had to study to catch up. It happens to everybody."
I do not like that it has happened to me. Wooly worms are cool, but I do not enjoy being one.
And yet I have one last holdout. I refuse to text. That's a whole nuther sore subject, and this blog is already too long. Hmmm....perhaps I am clinging to a bit of wooly-ness after all.
So tell me, Banditas and friends,
Are there any other Techno-wooly worms out there?
Do you jump on new technology the minute it arrives?
Or do you cling to your old stuff until it no longer functions, the way I hung onto my cool pink Razr phone until its circuitry was so fried it no longer remembered who it was?
Do you surf the web from your screened porch? Or are you stuck to a wire like the neanderthal I was?
Does technology make you faster, or slow you down?
Do you love it or hate it?
And do you have wooly worms where you live?
If so, what color are they this year?
Will it be a hard winter, or an easy one?
In the interest of holding on to some of what I was, I noticed the sky was red this evening. Should be a nice day tomorrow.