Drivin’ over 55.

AnnePoohRecent news flash: 50-something females are the fastest growing demographic group of Facebook users. Actually, I think “they” are even saying “over 55”. Haaarrrrrumpf. What the heck did “they” think would happen when Facebook was opened up to people without student IDs? Hmmm? The thing is that a lot of us resisted it for a while. I know that there are a lot of folks my age and older who really aren’t computer literate. So there’s that barrier. “I don’t know how to set up a Facebook profile.” “What would I do with a Facebook profile?” Etc. But that wasn’t my problem…

I certainly don’t know it all but I have pretty much been a power user (and programmer when I need to be) since the first time I interacted with a computer 30 years ago or so. Hey, I can tell this thing what to do and it *does* it! Of course, computers have a tendency to do *exactly* what you tell them to do which can lead to some pretty scary results. Those of you who’ve been alive long enough, think back to the days when you had to type your FORTRAN (or even assembly language) program onto keypunch cards and hand them to the geeky guy with the snarky sense of humor at the I/O window and then slink out of there in shame when your program managed to put a new page carriage control character onto every line of output and that geeky snarky guy howled with laughter as he handed you the two-foot high stack of paper that represented your output. ((((Er, hey all you 50-something geeky, snarky I/O window guys. The way to pick up cute girls was *not* to ridicule them when they flubbed their computer programs. Maybe you eventually figgered that out though.))))

To be fair, I didn’t ever go through any of that but that’s only because, when I was in college, I dropped the only class that ever required me to interact with a computer. Hello 1979. First job out of college. Big government computer contractor. We used keypunch cards for years after I started working there but only for production jobs (work lingo, don’t ask). I taught myself FORTRAN on a Decwriter II that was connected to a remote mainframe by a slow old modem. The geeky, snarky I/O guy? Well. Er. That was Meeeeee! I could be dern snarky in those days. I was young (and thin and blonde) and man oh man, I had a hard time convincing folks of both genders that I had a blasted brain. I managed it eventually but that’s a whole ‘nother entry. Someday. Funny thing. After I had my own beach urchins, I mellowed a bit (I know some of you don’t believe that) and I began learning how to gently tell clueless folks how not to get a two-foot stack of paper. Honey and flies and all that, don’tcha know.

Fast forward. Sorry, it happens whether you want it to or not. My reason for not joining facebook for a long time was different than many other folks’ reasons. I wasn’t afraid of the technology at all. What the heck? I can bludgeon my way through *any* user interface, although I may have some comments about the usability when I am finally successful (or not). The thing is that we who are drivin’ over 55 are able to connect to our old friends via facebook. People we haven’t seen in about a gazillion years and didn’t ever expect to connect with again. My favorite facebook story is about a co-worker and mentor of mine who is close to my age. She knows how to program computers too but she joined facebook because an *80*-year-old friend of hers had joined and posted some photos. You go, girls!

3 Responses to “Drivin’ over 55.”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I resisted because much as I love the computer, I don’t want to live on it. And I seem to be fascinated by people’s updates so I know that I need to stay away from Twitter.

  2. rabbi ann white Says:

    I love “drivin over 55” — I often encounter young folks in my work and they will use a word to which I might look puzzled and they will say, “oh, it’s a young person’s word.” Like there is a monopoly on words, to which I reply: “Groovy……that’s an old person’s word.”

    ps — thanks for your note on things that happen in the blink of an eye – like a life changing accident. I suppose good things happen in a blink of an eye too. You and your readers and me and mine, all hopefully know that this is why celebrating each moment, and being mindful of the “now” is the best way to savor each moment that life provides…….even (or especially) if we are drivn’ over 55. (or walkin’ for that matter). Beautiful day to you and yours!

  3. Marquis Says:

    The new O-B of the beach!