Is technology passing me by?


I know… easy question… of course technology is leaving me behind.

It’s running circles around all of us, spinning its wheels and then racing off to become a dot on the horizon. Often it comes back, pulls on our leg and gets our hopes up, only to scamper off again beyond our reach.

But I think the reality of progress combining with technology is a bit stranger for all of us, as it so often is. Because most often technology isn’t completely passing me by. It’s selectively passing me by. And that’s something totally different.

If you have no interest in fantasy football or Facebook… if you don’t play video games… if you have the morning paper delivered, watch the 6:30pm national news, and never use the internet… then for these and likely many other reasons, technology is almost certainly changing your world, but I don’t think the “passing me by” argument is quite as applicable.

In what I hope is a mildly amusing way of phrasing it… the latest and greatest and most mind-bogglingly brilliant advancements in producing orange juice don’t really shake the ground under your feet if you don’t drink orange juice.

Technology is similar.

It’s awesome, and in many ways spectacular, to see how e-mail and texts messages and more have changed the way we can communicate. It quite literally has made the entire planet smaller and faster. Still… communication… for those that only use phones mounted on the wall with a cord dangling down and have no computer in their homes, it’s kind of hard to make an argument that technology is moving too quickly to grasp when time around them isn’t really moving at all.

Recently I borrowed a car from Mom and Dad. While not outrageously old, it is one of the last models I’ve ever seen with a cassette player built in to the car stereo system. I was thrilled, since it gave me a chance to play a couple of tapes I had been wanting to listen to.

A few years ago a friend got in my car for a bit of a drive, and he went to sync his phone so we could listen to some music on the ride. Couldn’t do it. I didn’t have a port in the car, nor any type of wireless option.

Cassettes to USB/Bluetooth connectivity in cars. If not a statement, it’s still an interesting contradiction. Which in turn brings us back to the initial argument.

It’s hard to make a case for technology passing you by if it involves something you have zero interest in using. That concept isn’t perfect… since the way others use something can ultimately put ripples in the water that reach you.

And yet there it is, technology cruising along, modifying and updating and recreating and more. Getting on board can be difficult enough, staying current is downright impossible.

Let’s get one thing understood. You can have a smartphone… use it for calls and texts and games and even pictures… allow it to replace the landline in your home… and not take advantage of how it can work as a level or bar code scanner or more, not store or play music, or all of those other fabulous options. Not being 100% literate or familiar with something is not the same as being unable to make it functional and useful.

You probably heard about how the latest and greatest iPhone was unveiled essentially without a place for earbuds to be plugged in. The world went bonkers. Some people actually tried to use a drill on their phone to create a port. (Seriously… go search for those enlightened individuals and feel good about yourself as a result… word string of “iphone 7 drill headphone” works fine to get results.)

I shrugged my shoulders at the wireless earbud news.

Didn’t care.

I don’t store music on my phone. Don’t use it that way. I’ve got other needs for the memory on my phone… like pictures and games. I am amazingly naïve (and probably well into the realm of ignorant) when it comes to streaming music and such services.

I’m also in no rush to update my phone. And by no rush, I mean not moving at all toward it. My phone works… makes and receives calls… don’t need a new one.

Ultimately, not only do I never use my phone with some sort of headset, I also likely won’t be using a model that doesn’t offer the jack for quite some time.

Shoulder shrug.

Ah… but therein lies the problem (and the connection between not drinking orange juice and yet orange juice production changing the contents of your fridge).

Terry and I had purchased a new television a few years ago. And naturally, when going to set up a few things, the plugs didn’t all fit. The world has moved on to USB and HDMI. You’re fortunate to have one place to use an RCA connector. We needed two.

The difference, I suppose, comes from awareness. It’s one thing not to need or use the latest and greatest… another thing entirely to expect it to cater to you when you finally dip your toes in the water.

A few weeks ago, Terry and I were out of state. When we checked in to a hotel, I got into a conversation at the front desk and ended up asking for dinner suggestions. In response, one guy started talking about a restaurant that was perhaps ten minutes away. When I asked how to get to it, he responded by saying we should just look it up on a smartphone to get directions.

We did. And of course, it was a nightmare. The name of the restaurant actually was used in a couple of places nearby, meaning I had to invest several minutes just weeding through those to actually find it. In the end, the way I found it was by combining a meal he had described with the name he had given us.

Think about that. Trying “surfside” didn’t work. Attempts for “surfside restaurant” didn’t work. Google Maps was as stumped as Had to get to “surfside restaurant crab stuffed mushrooms anytown-with-state” to start seeing results that might be right.

The idea of technology passing me by… passing any of us by… isn’t as simple as understanding how to use your phone and so on. It’s more than that. And yet it’s most definitely happening. Just a question of what will be going on when you notice it happening to you.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at