Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Living 02

While driving home at suppertime this evening, I heard the letters section of All Things Considered on NPR. I always enjoy these, as the writers or callers often express my own sentiments about a previous story. Tonight was a comment about toddlers playing with hi-tech gadgets, a story that ran last night, and which I missed.

Apparently toddlers these days are playing with cellphones, iPhones, smartphones, blackberries, and other hi-tech gadgets, often without supervision, which means they sometimes end up in toilets, crawfish fryers (really!), and just plain lost. Well, a listener submitted a comment about that story, writing to say that the commentators failed to provide the obvious recommendation to avoid these snafus. Ahhh I knew what he was going to say.......and I chuckled.

The NPR host went on to read the letter....."The obvious recommendation is to keep the gadgets away from toddlers." Well, shoot, that is not what I was thinking. Even I know that toddlers want things that adults are "playing" with, so that isn't the solution. In the original NPR piece the hi-tech guru talked about "toddler locks" on phones, a toy smart phone for kids, multimedia bedtime stories for kids. Egads!

Talk about all children left inside. The NPR commentators did laugh about going back to tin cans with string, the calling method for children of yore. That would be me.

Here are my ideas. For multimedia bedtime stories -- open the window. Listen to bullfrogs, barred owls hooting, coyotes howling, the train rumbling in the distance, all the night time sounds in your neighborhood. And for the adults -- here is my blackberry in the toilet solution..................

This is my calendar for work and home. I can pull it out anytime, see a month at a time, it works without batteries or charger, it doesn't even need the sun. My mother gives us calendars as Christmas presents; calendars that she has gotten free in the mail from some organization that she has contributed to or not. So, they are free, are nice presents, are recyclable when the year is over, no toxic materials to dispose of when the gadget fails. I have had a calendar fall apart, but really a calendar can not fail.

A few years ago while at a professional meeting with my wildlife peers it was time to schedule a meeting. I pulled out my trusty wildlife calendar given to me by my mom. And my colleagues laughed as they pulled out blackberries and spent several minutes turning them on, poking them to locate the month and date. Meanwhile I was waiting patiently (or not), pen in hand, to record the date on my calendar.

Keep those calendars coming mom.


  1. And as for who looks sillier, you with your paper calendar, or the Blackberry users with their flailing thumbs and bulging eyes, the answer is obvious: the Blackberryites.

    If that isn't enough to convince you I've yet to meet a calendar that woke me up in the middle of the night with something that someone else thought was urgent.

    It would be interesting to know if electronic gadgetry is as popular in Europe. At one time Europeans were considered to live at a slower but saner pace. I wonder if that's still true.........

  2. Ken,

    This week the New York Times has two contrasting stories that captures the essence of gadget-mania. Just this morning is an article about smartphones and other communication gadget sales, which are expected to increase 25% this year. Compare that to the thoughtful essay by Pico Iyer on the Joys of Less. A lot of the purchases seem to be driven by social pressures, people feeling that they must be constantly connected. I wonder about the environmental costs of producing, using, and disposing of all these gadgets......


  3. My choice too. I love those calendars. I keep all the older years in a file drawer and when I need to look something up I just pull out the year. Just did it the other day. Easy. I stay as far away as possible from those folks with techno gadgets. Their lives are way too complicated. -Amy