By GENE GOFFIN
I used to be a first adopter. I gradually became a last adopter. Electronics overload may be a senior malady. “Conveniences” seem to complicate life.
Every time we drive our Subaru we see the clock is one hour later than standard time. I always feel late. It has been two months since time changed, but clock-setting is agonizing. The 400-page owner’s manual is for three or four different clock versions. Which one do we have? Maybe the answer is hidden in that textbook-sized manual. We like the SUV (it’s really a station wagon, but SUV is cool, station wagon is not), but not the electronics.
Last spring, it took me 20 mind-numbing minutes to change the time. Barb gave up before I tried. Yelling at obscure, multiple screens doesn’t work, but feels good. We’ve never read the 300-page sound system manual, but managed to get Sirius XM. I have no idea how to listen to local radio.
Turning to my iPhone — it came without a manual — I figured out how to answer, call and what some buttons mean. “People” with fake phone numbers and locations call me, but if I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer. That usually stops it. Being able to call from almost anywhere is nice. Some of those mysterious buttons are useful. The rest is worthless to me. Not having miniature fingers, I dislike texting. I read emails are for seniors (an insult I think). I am fine with that.
I read satellite and cable TV are doomed. Everyone will stream. I’m sure it will cost more. Now, years late, we finally have moderately decent internet in Glade Park. I guess I could stream, but I understand my out-of-date (like me) satellite receiver. Although I cannot record a million programs simultaneously, I know how to record two. They sent me a remote I could talk to, but I prefer to talk to humans.
I have thought, as a confirmed Luddite (perhaps a synonym for “senior”) I need to secure (sounds better than “kidnap”) a nine-year-old to manage electronics. However, you have to feed them and they always want new phones. I prefer my increasing ignorance. I still have my 1970 record player and vinyl from decades past — I hear it may come back. Maybe I will be a first re-adopter.
Meanwhile, we wait for vaccination scheduling. I understand 40-60% of local health care professionals refused vaccination, possibly because of the holidays. I hope they get vaccinated. My immunologist neighbor tells me how safe vaccines are. Vaccines have been around for centuries. Modern ones are extraordinarily safe. If medical workers refuse vaccination, aren’t they exposing people who count on them to protect them from disease?
In New York City’s 1947 smallpox scare, a legion of volunteers helped vaccinate six million people in a month. A failed federal government has done little to help states vaccinate hundreds of millions. They should be organizing thousands, maybe millions, of volunteers. Mesa County Health Department Director Jeff Kuhr wants volunteers (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org). COVID-19 responses inevitably are created on the fly. Generally, Colorado has done far better than surrounding states and is faster than most on vaccinating, but no one is doing enough.
Kuhr says they can vaccinate 2,000 per week now and are setting up to do 7,000 to 10,000 per week soon if they can get enough vaccine. Seniors should start getting the vaccine this week. For seniors to register, search “Mesa County Health Vaccine” and that should get you to the proper place.
Everyone was sick of 2020. We all hope for a better year, but it isn’t happening yet. A letter to the editor quoted a store employee that he was afraid to request people to wear masks because he didn’t want to “get beat up.” Are anti-maskers becoming terrorists?
Asymptomatic people spread 59% of COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In a time when the attempted forceful overthrow of a democratically elected government led to thugs seizing the national Capitol building, what is next? If encouraging rebellion isn’t grounds for removing the president, what is?
So far, I hope we are vaccinated before February is out. That will make for a better spring.
If large segments of free riders refuse vaccines and masks, we may be wearing masks for years. The good news — with COVID-19 precautions, we haven’t had a cold or flu for a year.
Gene is a retired lawyer, former history professor, occasional journalist. Contact me at email@example.com.