Wi-fi? Maybe you, not me

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why, I reckon they thought I was E.F. Hutton speaking.

Every single soul in the place stood stone-still quiet with their mouths gaping open like a Venus flytrap.

So, I said it again.

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“Do you have a pay phone?”

Finally, one of the stone statues came to life. A “mature” man. He walked over, put his arm around my shoulders and gently guided me to an obscure place in the store. He mouthed the words very deliberately and in a low whisper, as if I were senile or something.

“We..don’t..have..a..pay..phone. Is..this..an..e-mer-gen-cy?

I said, no, I was in Montgomery to see my grandson’s baseball game that had obviously been rained out. I was just trying to get in touch with my son to find out where to meet them for supper.


“To eat out,” I explained to the city slicker.

“Will this be a local call?”

I was in Montgomery. I had no idea what a “local” call would be.

“It’s a 256 number.”

That was not a local call so the manager of the store could be of no further assistance.

Back in the car, I was in my comfort zone. “Maybell” has rollup windows, gears that shift, a clutch, manual steering and brakes and a radio with a knob.

Otherwise, I’m a woman out of her time.

But it comes as no surprise that the world has left me far behind.

I’m one whose first telephone conversation was on two tin cans linked with a waxed string. I’m one who learned to type on a manual Royal with round keys and an ink ribbon.

I know that I’m out of touch with this high tech world that has made pay phones and Brownie cameras the dinosaurs of my day.

That was brought home to me some time ago when Sis and I didn’t know that a cell phone actually knows when you cross from one time zone into another.

We thought that we had entered the Twilight Zone and actually lost an hour of our lives.

Then, we also didn’t know that televisions at motels can be set to turn off at a designated time.

We were certain that the innkeeper of that quaint, historic hotel must have come in with a pass key while we were asleep and turned off the television because neither of us had.

How dare that man come in where we were sleeping in our pajamas!

My son explained those things to me.

He also said Sis and I should not be allowed to go out alone. We are just too out of touch with today’s world.

I did not tell him that my first, and only, attempt to use my check card resulted in the ATM machine gobbling up my out-of-date card.

Nor did I tell him of my attempt to punch in a friend’s check card at the ATM machine.

“I’ll get out and do it,” said Bannie who was on the passenger side.

“No, just tell me. I can do it.”

I followed her instructions. “Punch this button and that button and, no, not that button. The other one.”

Instead of a $10 bill shooting out, the screen admonished me: “Too Slow. Try Again!”

Bannie got out and did it.

Just the other day, the marquee at Grandmaw’s kitchen caught my eye. Wi Fi.

That’s an odd way to abbreviate the days of the week, I thought.

And, I wondered what specials Grandmaw’s was having on Wednesdays and Fridays. So, I asked around and nobody knew. Finally, I asked at the restaurant. One of the owners called to tell me that Wi Fi is Wireless Internet Free Inside.

“What?” I said.

“That means that you can bring your computer inside and connect to the Internet. It’s an “in” thing. Like going to the coffee shop and sitting around logging in on the computer.”

“My word in the garden!”

That reminds me of those “hip’ and high falutin’ folks out in Aspen who sat around the outdoor cafés reading the newspaper with big dogs on a leash lying at their feet.

Guess, Wi Fi is now the “hip” thing to do.

Well, at least that’s better than sitting around with the dogs.

At least, the computers don’t Wi Fi on the floor.