Mike was always at the forefront of new technologies…
Ha now there’s a sentence which is surprised at having been strung together. Mike was certainly not the most adept at such things…probably what I meant to say was that he loved to see all the techie gadgets that came along during his lifetime and then buy them and try and figure out how to use them. As a kid he was a fan of Dick Tracy and his watch and so there you have it. When Skype came along and then the iPhone and then FaceTime he couldn’t wait to have one of everything and I know if he’d been around when the Apple watch came out he’d have one of those too, and would have been quite gratified to see Mr. Tracy’s gadget truly come to life. He was tickled pink to be able to chat live in video with his daughter and baby grandson.
I myself was not as thrilled about smart anythings and didn’t have one of those silly phones until his daughters kind of insisted I take his over after he died to keep all the little things he had inside, pictures, contacts, apps, etc. Now, sigh, I have the newest version and it tries very hard never to let me out of its sight though sometimes I still forget and leave it at home, laughing evilly at my escape half way down the hill, having foiled its plot to shadow my every move and forced it to consider it may not be as smart as it thinks it is.
But I digress.
Mike had one of those big brick phones in a suitcase when they came out decades ago. He also bought one of the the first personal home computers when they became available, a Commodore 64. He didn’t do much with it but try to write a book which he claims was pretty far along when it suddenly disappeared from the screen never to be seen again since he had no idea how to back anything up in those days…other than that it was just about video games. He was a huge fan of that virtual folly which wasted far too many hours I thought at the time, but now looking back am glad he had so much fun, and met those wonderful guys online (really, they turned into great friends and a couple of them flew out for his memorial).
Just days before he died he had decided Twitter was going to be his next adventure, and as I was an old hand at it had asked me a ton of questions about how it worked and what he could or should be tweeting. He joined in February 2013. He posted one single tweet and it is dated February 13, 2013. It reads exactly as follows: The ground it getting closer, so it seems we are moving faster...Sunrise, Sunset and tomorrow is another day closer to? (AHHHHH!)
And then he died four days later. So I think about that tweet a lot. It seemed a silly thing to write on the day but now I wonder that it did’t portend something far more ominous.
Mike also had a Kindle. I pshawed this foray into electronic reading but had to admit that it did make it far easier for him being a dyslexic as he could make the print big and even have a computer voice read aloud for him which he also thought was sort of magical, displaying this newfound toy to me with glee. When he died my Mom asked whether she might take that and we agreed it should go to her and she still uses it which makes me happy.
It took me awhile to latch on to the idea of swiping rather than turning pages, having always been a dedicated fan of the (actual) printed word. But alas, I was eventually ensnared mostly just to ease boredom and reduce bag weightiness on long airplane flights. I am even a satisfied member of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and for $10 a month have thousands of titles to choose from which pleases the miser in me. So I have happily been swiping for about a year now on the app in my iPhone (which I’m sure makes that thing feel very smug about being useful and wanted).
Some of the books I find in that Unlimited category are not so great. I have started many and then sadly deleted them when their hook failed me. But others I have discovered to be true little gems. Nothing serious going on here folks…no heavy reading, no long, depressing war stories or even very high literature at all. Just light escapism. And escapism seems to be the theme these days. My favorites are detective series with a little romance thrown in. Series because I read so fast they are otherwise over far too soon and I tend to become rather fond of the little fictional worlds and reluctant to say goodbye.
Case in point. My latest discovery and one of my favorites so far I randomly came across as I was browsing the book search page; downloading decisions are often made simply on how much the cover pleases me and nothing more. It is entitled The Bette Davis Club and is by an author named Jane Lotter…who is, I found when I started the book with a rather sad foreward written by her daughter, now deceased. This book is the only one she ever wrote and I already knew I was going to enjoy it and be very sad about that fact after reading the first sentence.
And I was. Very sad when it was over. Every word I read, rejoicing at the cleverness and wittiness of the writer and the characters and just everything about it - every word I read I loved but also mourned because I knew I was coming closer and closer to the end. Every so often I would close the app and try and do something else…I would check and see how much longer I had left, and try to forget about it for a few days to draw it out…but it called me back, as I knew it would.
Other people, apparently mostly people in Seattle since that is where Ms. Lotter had lived, got to read her words lots and lots over the years, I discovered, as she had a column in the Seattle Sun. I felt deprived that I had not known of her before, and had been unexposed to her certain comic genius before now, and that there were to be no more fun words coming from this particularly talented person who even wrote her own obituary since she knew she was dying. I wished Mike were here to share my discovery, I used to read aloud to him myself sometimes and he so enjoyed that, she would have made him laugh too…but I know it was his fondness for gadgets that eventually got me here to happen upon it. Somewhere he is rejoicing for my Kindle experience and saying I told you so…
In other news, I recently discovered adult coloring books - something still very much on real paper. My cousin gave me one for Christmas and I am totally hooked. Seriously. They say it’s good for stress. I think it must be. Now that I have no more Ms. Lotter to look forward to, I’m flinging myself whole-heartedly into coloring flowers with my bright new pens. There’s something to be said for spending a few minutes each day where your most important decision will be which shade of green to use on the next leaf. I highly recommend it. And no one will care if you stray outside the lines.