the question As a retired woman living alone, I felt isolated during the various lockdowns. The answer seems to be relying on technology, which was fine when it worked, but it often made me feel more disconnected from the world. For example, when I didn’t know how to unmute on a video call, it was like locking up syndrome. Now that I’m out of the pandemic, things are better, except that Covid has made technology the way forward and I can’t always make it work for me.
I went to a bar where I had to forgo lunch because I couldn’t order from the app. I know people who have traveled abroad for vacations, but I was too afraid to go because of the passenger locator form, which I had to complete the internet while you were out of the country (how?). I have a cell phone that I struggle with often – for months I didn’t know how to answer a call, so I had to wait for people to ring, and then had to call them back.
If I buy a new one, it won’t come with a manual that shows me how it works. I drift away from people who use their phones and watches (clocks?!) for everything. I don’t feel like I belong in this world. This is unlikely to improve.
Philippa’s answer I also find it increasingly difficult to rely on technology. I can’t even turn on my central heating system and you can’t pay your municipal tax without having to remember the password. When the internet first arrived, I was fine, but nothing remains constant; The word “promotion” makes me shiver. I’m tired of watching YouTube videos trying to refresh myself. Younger people seem to mess with it and intuitively deal with it: they’ve grown up with it. We do not have.
Well, the rant is over. What can we do about this?
We can remember that learning something new is good for our older brains. And you have to give yourself a pat on the back to receive your email. You are doing great. You have learned how to do it. You can learn more. I know it’s pretty boring and once you learn one video conferencing app they upgrade it or your group starts using a different one and then you have to learn it all over again. You can do that, though. I can do that too. we have to.
Go to the computer store. exclaim, “Shop!” (My dad – RIP – used to do that in Woolworths: he wasn’t a stickler for self-catering) until an assistant comes to you. Explain that you are from another planet and another generation and that you need appropriate help. It will be hard for them to understand because they are fish and technology is water, but perseverance.
The brand that calls itself a piece of fruit has classes in its store. They call them shops and not shops, I suppose, because they came from that new country, America. Don’t budge until you get the help you need. Don’t stop indulging in tears. Let them have it. The great thing about getting older is that we can say exactly how we feel and what we want and usually get rid of it. I find that I have to ask for help more than once because I need to be told several times and practiced, before it begins.
But there is something else going on here. There is a part of you (and me, and all of us) that is destined to remain alone, invisible. This part is usually background – we don’t usually get into the way we really know our own experience of being. But I think that’s why we need art, fiction, and movies, because the people who make them really try and sometimes bump into something that imparts a far-fetched, unattainable feel in language or images.
I heard somewhere (don’t ask me to find the reference, I’ve lost it) that there is a tribe that gives when a child is born the name that everyone will give her, plus a secret name known only to the child given to him by the elder of the tribe (he will die soon as he is an elder, so the Only the child knows that. This secret name symbolizes your own uniqueness and the part that only you know. Whatever that tribe is and whatever it is, they get it. Because of this feeling that our inner world cannot truly be known and seen by others, when asked, most people feel that they often believe that they are not at the center of a group, but more towards the fringes. And I imagine that if we don’t intuitively understand the new technology that we’ve become increasingly dependent on during the pandemic, it could exacerbate that sentiment.
If we can get to this article online, I hope people will tell us how to travel abroad and back again in the comments (it’s far from me too, and I’m looking forward to reading it).
Even though you feel left behind and meant to be alone, you are not alone, there is a part that is invisible and unknown to all of us. We can give it a secret name if we like. You already belong in this world, but a part of you can sometimes feel that you are not.
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