Electronically Correct
by Patricia Draznin

There are two kinds of people: 1) people who keep their technology reasonably up-to-date, and 2) people like me who stay two steps ahead of the Amish. My rule of thumb is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t upgrade it.” This practice stems from the horror of mastering another digital device and from the notion that if I wait long enough I can buy THE FINAL VERSION with no future upgrades necessary ever. Yeah, and pints of Chunky Monkey might spring up out of my vegetable garden.

My car “entertainment” system consists of a tape deck that still works just fine. No, it’s not an eight-track, although that was a fair question. But there’s no CD player. Anyway, they don’t make CD players for Pintos, do they? The day I went shopping for the soundtrack of Chicago, the record store clerk assured me that they don’t get cassettes any more—in the same tone you would use to inform someone that the earth isn’t flat. As proof, she directed me to the Paleolithic corner where they “displayed” their humiliated little inventory of audiocassettes. Chicago was not among them, nor was any recording since Perry Como’s Christmas.I left the store determined to find the tape or a sympathetic music label that would make me one. But eventually I surrendered to Plan B, which involved seeing the movie 14 times and humming the tunes in my car.

Like my tape deck, our VCR works just fine. But whenever I browse the movie rentals I notice how the DVDs are squeezing out the videos. Soon the beloved VCR will be shamed, forgotten, and dishonorably discontinued, surpassed by its sophisticated successor whose owners are often found stuck in the digital learning curve, hosting an evening of director’s cuts and alternate endings, followed by the second half of the movie.

Like our VCR, our telephones work just fine. No, they’re not rotary dial, although that was a fair question. But our corded phones don’t pick up all that interference like the cordless ones—the buzzing and static, the police radio calls, the signals from Hubble. Occasionally one of our phones poops out and I have to replace it. Then begins the long pilgrimage through the electronics department past hundreds of cordless models to the Aisle of Extinction “displaying” Underwood typewriters, Riverdance videos, and three corded telephones reduced for clearance that probably belonged to the department manager who failed to sell them on eBay because I don’t shop there.

Like our corded phones, my cell phone works just fine; I bought it last February. By April I figured out how to use it. By July I retrieved my three phone messages. Luckily they were all from my husband and only one was an emergency. I’d been wondering what happened to him. He’s fine now. I got AAA to tow his car and I gave him a lift home while we listened to music. No, I wasn’t humming Chicago tunes, although that was a fair question. We listened to Perry Como’s Christmas.

Copyright 2003 Patricia Draznin


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