Time Savers or Complications?
E-readers: Your portability depends on your battery. During a recent long plane ride, absorbed in Atlas Shrugged and in the midst of John Galt’s speech, a little box in the middle of the screen on my Kindle warned, “Your battery is running low.” Fortunately I had other reading material with old fashioned print content. This low battery dilemma occurs with cell phones also, sometimes with more serious consequences. No wonder people carry power cords and battery chargers wherever they go.
A visit from grandchildren these days includes a jumble of wires and cords, some of which will inevitably be left behind when they depart for home. Thus, a grandparent’s duties now include responding to the piteous call, “Grandma did I leave my…. there? Could you mail it to me like quick?” Forget snail mail. This is the time for FedX. Or maybe you want to spend the money and purchase a new wire, cord or whatever and send it. But no, that would include snail mail also. Best solution would be to telephone one of the local electronic stores of a nation-wide chain and have the needed item delivered directly. To sum up: The job of grandparenting has replaced home baked cookies with the art of speed and efficiency sufficient to keep up with the electronic needs of the grandchildren.
So, where are the parents—your children—while all the problem solving has been going on? They haven’t called you yet? They’ll doubtless be on their Smart Phones tomorrow. As soon as they find them. Currently they are too busy helping their children look for their missing items. Your home, dear grandparent, has become a combination storage unit and headquarters for quick transport of essential equipment.
On the other hand, there are advantages that come with this array of devices and the accompanying problems. Bonding with one’s grandchildren used to mean taking them fishing or going on long walks contemplating nature and discussing Life. That was a generation ago; things have changed. Many grandparents text with their grandchildren or chat via Facebook. At the very least, we email each other. Ebook sharing is another method of keeping in touch with grandchildren. Comparing the efficacy of one brand of reader over another brand can initiate a discussion with the more detail oriented kids.
The various advantages of ebooks and readers continue to be a discussion in the public venue that can be extended to our inter-generation discussions. I read recently that the Nook—close competitor to the Kindle—will come out in the next incarnation featuring a back light. That will be handy for reading when no artificial light is available save for the pale blue glow of the cell phone.
My Kindle, and other readers, includes a great feature especially helpful for us in the Mature Years: large print that is easy to read and gentle on the eyes. When you are turning pages—that is, pressing buttons—you may give off the impression to a casual observer that you’re a speed reader. That is, if you are into giving off impressions.
I am almost finished reading Atlas Shrugged in spite of having to stop and plug in the Kindle to recharge. In addition to saving my eyes from small print, I’m also grateful for the ability to carry around a three and a half pound book in the form of a slim screen. Next, I need to look into the sharing of ebooks with the oldest and most “readerly” of my grandchildren. My husband and I attended an informational meeting regarding the use of the Nook at the time the Nook was spearheading the movement of library ebooks and sharing at Barnes and Noble. The world is spinning faster these days and we grandparents must keep up if we are to stay in touch with our grandchildren. The younger folks have a lot to offer when it comes to keeping us alert and intelligent.
However, a bit of advice: If you plan to fly take along print material to supplement your ebook reader. And keep the number of your nearest electronic store handy for when the call comes, “Grandma, can you send my….?”
To my readers: What do you think about ebooks and readers? How does our newest technology influence your relationship with grandchildren, nephews, nieces or? Please leave a comment.