Technology . . . Ask Me Why

I think one of the problems the younger generation and the older generation has when it comes to Technology is lack of understanding and lack of communication.

I am older now. I need reminders where I maybe didn’t need them before. I use some visual cues as a “to do list” or reminders.

Last night I asked my oldest adult child to help me figure out how to pay my car taxes online before the end of the month, which was my deadline. Otherwise, I’d just drive to the DMV and do it in person.

When we got to my computer, the first words out of her mouth were “Why do you have millions of windows open?”

To start with, it wasn’t a million. It was probably eleven, which is what I have open right now.

Instead of answering that question, I asked if she was going to help me or not?

So set the tone of our technology interaction.

She hovered over my shoulder monitoring what I was trying to do. This kind of behavior makes me extremely nervous. Either sit down and wait for a question, or sit in the computer chair and do it for me. Don’t HOVER!

So I got to the site and was told by my hovering figure that I knew what to do next. How does a young person know what I know how to do? That bit of irritation distracted me and as I did each step, I’d ask her for confirmation that it was right and ask should I press “Continue”.

For that I got a frustrated “YES”. I also was told I knew what to do next, why did I keep asking?

Well . . . if I knew for sure how to navigate this strange website that involves me sending hundreds of dollars through it, I wouldn’t have asked for help. Believe me, I wouldn’t!

So eventually I got to the screen where I am to type in my information. I needed a title number and the plate number. I must have typed it in wrong the first time, because it said “error” in bright red letters. So my adult child told me to try it again. I’d probably typed in the wrong numbers!

So I saw a different set of numbers on the notice and typed them in. “Error” again lit up the screen.

In frustration, my adult child took my car keys to go out to my car to get the registration card to double check the number.

I retyped the first set of numbers while she was gone and got in.

When she came back in with the card, I announced that I’d gotten to the spot where you pay, but couldn’t find the place to enter the information from my check. The form said I could pay online using a check.

Here came the eye rolling and the lecture on how much more secure a debit card is than giving out your account number over the internet.

I still wanted to pay by check, but got out my debit card and entered the information.

It was accepted and a confirmation screen came up.

Here was the part I’d really needed help with. She had told me to take a “screen shot” when I got it paid and print that out for my records. She said “screen shot” was a key on my keyboard.

I sat looking for that key and finally had to say, “I don’t see a key with ‘screen shot’ on it. I don’t think my keyboard has one.”

Oh, here came the flapping of arms and the look of frustration! “It won’t say “Screen shot”, it says “Print Screen”.

Well, where is that key?

Do you want me to DO IT FOR YOU???

I looked at the frustrated instructor and looked at the keyboard and the screen and said, “yes”.

So I got up and she sat down and told me you go to paint while she went to paint (like I know where paint is) and then you do this and then that and  . . . “what is wrong with your printer?”

My printer is old, like me. Sometimes it gets confused and doesn’t print but instead blinks three yellow lights. If you push the button beside the three blinking lights, it will print. So I did that.

The page printed out and she grabbed it and took it and the registration card back out to the car.

THAT is why older people have trouble using technology. No one ever explains things exactly right. No one ever talks us through how to do things and then waits patiently while we try. They do it themselves and then wonder why we don’t remember how to do it.

And like my old printer, I sometimes get confused and forgetful. THAT’S WHY I keep all those windows opened at the bottom of my screen. It reminds me of what I want to finish before I go to bed. And it is places I’m not sure I can find my way back to, if I close that window. I do a lot of research online. Some places take you various other places before you find that nugget you’re seeking. I have no intention of hunting for it again.

Leave my windows open! I’ve had “help” at work who actually closed my windows without asking, and it greatly hampers my efficiency.

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