Tech and the cave girl 

In her latest blog, Carrick Court's House Manager ponders the adoption of modern technology - particularly the latest smart phones!

Since the existence of humankind, around 195,000 years ago, sometimes I wonder just how our relatively primitive, still evolving brains are able to store and make sense of the fast moving technological world we now live in.

Inventiveness and the pursuit of ever increasing advancements in science and technology are being churned out and as fast as we get our heads around one and are fairly proficient in its use, another becomes mainstream and we either decide to stick with the archaic and old fashioned, ‘oh so last year!’ as described by our children and grandchildren, or we move with the times.

Despite the recent negative research surrounding smart phones (by Times Science Editor Tom Whipple) and their effects on cognition, the fact remains this technology is regarded by the populous as one of the most inventive. However, I personally liked my Nokia (it didn’t do an awful lot but kept me connected). I liked its simplicity. Maybe I couldn’t find the nearest Chinese takeaway or check a flight to wherever, but it did what it said on the tin and that always worked for me.

My teenage son though had become so frustrated at my ‘cave girl’ mentality and complacency, together with the inability to look things up, link to Bluetooth in the car or use Google Maps to get somewhere, that I somewhat reluctantly gave in. I guess I hung on because mainstream has always felt a bit pedestrian and it suits me to be alternative – or as I am frequently described by the family ‘prehistoric’.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t my son, husband or friends that were the most delighted, it was my mother. She is 79 and I have discovered that she is East Yorkshire’s answer to Bill Gates – not that she is loaded, although being from Yorkshire she won't be skint, no, she likes her trip to Asda every Saturday with her buddies. Surfing the web, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and email inboxes have become their daily priorities before they put the kettle on in the morning or even tackle their ablutions.

They swap stories, post gossip, send each other daily updates and amusing stories. Needless to say, whether I like it or not, I too get cc’d in to share the imaginations of the world at large. I mentioned this to some of the homeowners at Carrick Court and while some felt my pain most of them are in agreement with my mother. Their smart phones and tablets are enabling them to tap into and keep up with the demands of the 21st century and their families. No more trundling out in the wet to do their banking, pay a bill or renew a licence.

Friends overseas are more likely to communicate via Skype, email and Facebook rather than put pen to paper and rummage for a stamp. Grandkids on their gap year are blogging from far flung and often remote cyber cafes set up in tin shacks probably hoping Gran will transfer funds from the comfort of her living room to refill their coffers.

Smart phones, PCs and tablets are ready to send and receive anything and everything including that exciting photo of Tom, Dick or Sally bungee jumping off a Tasmanian bridge to the more mundane request for meter readings from e.on. The list is endless.

The homeowners at Carrick Court do however regard this tech as a tool not as an appendage. Unlike my son and his peers who have their phones welded to the hip – moreover they have better things to do rather than constantly checking their social media sites. They are out and active, busy making and baking and more importantly having conversations rather than glued to a screen exercising their thumbs.

So there we have it, some technological advances are more useful and used than others – and while the iron may be on the secrets list and therefore hardly used thanks to the invention of non iron fabric, here at Carrick Court the advances in communications are well and truly embraced albeit within reason.

So what can I do? I can turn my phone to silent, let it vibrate or set to airplane mode – sadly though, eventually I need to reconnect and the phone bleeps, buzzes and vibrates with the frenzy of incoming communications that I feel I have to plough through in case I have missed something important! And while I have to concede that, as much as I wouldn’t like to trade my washing machine for a washboard and mangle and my old phone has been banished to the untidy drawer in the kitchen, I confess, I do still miss my Nokia.

So please excuse me if I sometimes yearn for that quiet corner of tech free solitude, to escape from having to listen to K pop during the school run. I guess I can always seek out the prehistoric home of my ancestors and after rubbing a couple of sticks together I can practice my cave paintings.