Most of us aren’t keen on getting old. You start having to wear cardigans in the summer, and eating sweets that taste like medicine, and being tutted at by 15-year-olds for not leaping upstairs like a youthful gazelle.
You also have to abandon all hope of having any idea how to use new technology, if my nan’s attempts to work a DVD player are anything to go by. And I recently had a frightening glimpse of this scary world we all face, if we’re lucky.
Unlike most people (especially @helenwrites, who once made me celebrate midnight on New Year’s Eve continuously for an hour so she could get the perfect picture), I’m not that bothered about taking photos. I prefer to enjoy a moment in the moment then use my brain to remember it. Plus I hang out with @helenwrites an awful lot, so I can always rely on her for pictures of me singing Auld Lang Syne through gritted teeth at 12.45am when I need them.
But when I was told by a friend’s bridesmaid recently that we all had to bring a photograph of us with the bride to her hen do, I was stumped. I wasn’t worried about finding one – @helenwrites had about 5,000 on Facebook.
But I had no idea how to get it from the screen into my hand. I couldn’t even explain what I wanted to do. ‘I want to turn that into that,’ I told the girls at work, stabbing my finger frantically at my computer screen then waving a bit of paper. ‘Print it out,’ they said, not unreasonably. ‘No, no, shiny. SHINY,’ I bellowed. This, I realised, is why your nan calls voicemail ‘that nice lady.’
I eventually found out they have machines for this kind of thing. I’m not sure what they’re called, but you get them in branches of Boots (and other places, probably. Maybe you’ve all got one at home, who knows?). And luckily, there was one round the corner from work.
So I downloaded my picture onto a USB stick, and skipped to Boots (not literally. I’m not nine). But that’s where the fun ended. Because I was about to find out what it’s like to be cowed by technology.
My first problem came when I was faced with this:
What was it? Why was it looking at me like that? What did it want from me? It looked like it needed feeding, but I wasn’t sure that was the right course of action. I soon found out what it wanted when the screen told me to insert my media, the filthy little slut.
Squinting, I shoved my USB key in, and pictures started uploading onto the screen. I was quite proud of myself. I’d worked it out! Who da man? ME da man! But then things started going very wrong. While trying to expand the screen with two fingers like it was an iPhone (pointless: it wasn’t an iPhone), this happened:
A picture I’d taken a couple of years ago to convince me a diet might be a nice idea (less pizza, more lettuce, that sort of thing), popped up on the screen. (I’d like to add a disclaimer here – I’ve lost a stone and a half since this was taken, and no longer look like I’m in my third trimester).
Boots was busy. I wasn’t keen on people seeing this photo, really. It’s not the kind of thing I like to share (except with you, Twitter. You’re special). So I started poking it with my finger. Unfortunately, that angered it. And this happened:
The picture now took up the whole screen. And I had no idea how to get rid of it. (Incidentally, while taking the pictures for this blog, the exact same thing happened. I’m that stupid). Luckily, pressing ALL THE BUTTONS IN THE WORLD in a desperate attempt to make it go away worked eventually.
And it only took another half hour or so of swearing, sweating, kicking stuff and crying to print off a grainy, low-res picture of me and my friend. The upside was that it only cost me £70.15p (I was so fucked off by the whole experience that I went straight out and spunked £70 on these to cheer me up):
The point of all this is that this is how your nan feels when she tries to put a CD on her record player then manages to delete all your apps within five seconds of you showing her your new phone. So next time you see an old person struggling with modern life, don’t tut. Give them a cuddle instead.