When exactly is that age of wisdom, I'd like to know. We 1950s children were supposed to be "seen and not heard." Our elders knew best. And yet now that we've reached that frontier, we are no longer the valued wise.
Who needs elders when there is Google?
We are a generation of in-betweens. Sandwiched between young people who cannot grasp the idea of having an agreed-upon meeting place in case they get separated while shopping in the mall, and older people who annoyingly refuse to learn to text. It seems an odd place to be, and yet I wouldn't trade this newer age of technology for any age of wisdom . . . if that were to be the trade off.
In Among the Zinnias, eighty-five-year-old Giovanna Boeri deals with such a world, in which she is unable to participate. Below is an excerpt:
Giovanna saw people poking their fingers on tablets, but were they large telephones or tiny televisions? She wasn’t sure and at first she didn't care. It was only when the tavern owner changed his sign to read, "Internet Café" that it became too much. What had he been thinking? No doubt it was his grandson’s idea. Now the quiet tavern was pinging and dinging day and night as patrons—mostly children after school—sat in front of the computers, feeding coins into slots. It had become impossible to bring Pastore di Capre there for a quiet cup of coffee. It confused him and made him angry. These changes were not good.
“But what do I know,” Giovanna thought, “I’m just an old woman.”
She had lived her entire eighty-five years on that tiny island where nothing changed, not even after two wars and an earthquake, until the recent lightening-speed of what the television news announcers called technology. She simply could not comprehend a world where one’s image was able to ricochet between a multitude of towers—one of those towers on the peak above the village—allowing her to see her daughter standing in a pizzeria in America!
The tavern owner’s grandson never seemed to be deterred by her scowl as he held the small telephone up for her.
"It’s a mobile, Nonna Giovanna. This is Facetime." The young man said the same thing every time.
“In America it’s called a cell.”
“A seal.” Giovanna tried the word each time, hopeful as she awaited the connection but the voices were always scratchy and the images froze and unfroze like the television on stormy days. It confused her. When she talked, they talked and no one understood what was being said.
“Call me on the house phone,” she’d end up saying as she batted the phone from her face.
The tavern owner’s grandson would leave her but he’d try again on a different day, when he’d get another call from Angelina or Patrice. Rocco and Pasquale never called. After a failed Facetime attempt, Giovanna usually ended up sitting patiently by the house telephone—waiting. And when it didn’t ring she’d get angry.
Among the Zinnias, The Nifi, and Your Own Kind are available in ebook and paperback. And they're free if you have Kindle Unlimited. I hope you will give one of them a try!
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.