By Patty Maher
I am not a sports fan – but I am a fan of sports fans and children who eat hot-fudge sundaes.
It took me awhile to feel peaceful with Facebook but I think I am starting to find my way and set my boundaries. I’m starting to like it! In fact, I am missing those paper newspapers significantly less this week than I was a week ago. Having a blog helps. It helps a bunch, in fact.
When I first got my Facebook account about a-year-and-a-half-ago, I didn’t have a home computer. I got one about four-months-ago. I know. I know; it’s a little hard to believe. I resist technology and it’s a trait I come by honestly. It follows a matrilineal path in my family.
I graduated from high school in 1983 but I don’t think my mother had an electric-drip-coffee pot or a microwave until about 1990 or so. We didn’t have a dishwasher when I was growing up, either. My mother’s opinion was, “I have four dish washers – their names are Mary, Beth, Kelly and Patty. What would I do with one of those new-fangled contraptions?"
My mother’s mother, Grandma Landsiedel, was quite a glamorous and stylish older woman (she always took me to Hudson’s basement at the Eastland Mall in Detroit to buy stylish discount outfits when I visited her; I loved that woman!). In certain respects she was more modern than my mother. For instance, she was willing to take a risk with her Christmas tree. One year it was all angel hair and blue lights. At our house it was the same every year – heirloom ornaments and multicolor lights (never blinking!). But when it came to technology, my grandmother, like my mother, was never willing to take a risk. Even in the 1980s she used a curling iron that she heated on the stove – or went to the beauty parlor and let the professionals deal with the situation. I asked her once why she didn’t just get an electric curling iron or some hot rollers like everyone else in the world and she looked at me like I was crazy. “I don’t want to electrocute myself!” she said.
I have had an I-pod for more than a year and it still doesn’t have any songs on it. I bought it from a friend for fifty dollars because she felt sorry for me for not having one and she was getting a new one. She threw in a $15 I-Tunes card to get me started. That was back before I had my own home computer. I tried loading my $15 worth of songs from someone else’s computer but I couldn’t figure out how to get them from the computer to the I-pod. I felt badly -- because I hadn’t actually asked the owner of the computer if this would be OK and I was worried I might have exposed the computer to viruses or something. So I ended up dumping all $15 of I-Tunes in the computer’s Recycle Bin.
I have technology phobia; there is no doubt. There is a big part of me that wishes everything could just stay the same! I like antique stores, the olden days, Jane Austin, the BBC. Why does everybody have to make my life so difficult? Why did we even have to have cable TV to begin with? Who needs more than two or three stations? I was just fine with one or two. I was fine with rabbit ears on the roof (of course, I grew up in a large family so we were able to string a chain of people from the living room to the roof to shout out suggestions when the reception needed adjustment during a major show).
I sort of liked it back when everybody was watching the same thing. We could keep track of things so much better. There was way less to keep track of, too. So far I haven’t figured out Net Flicks or even how to operate a DVD. I am still on VHS and it is limiting. Pretty much, I have to watch what’s available at Value World (Yes: I am talking about the thrift store. It’s where I get my movies.).
So, now that you understand that I really am about three-quarters Amish, at least when it comes to technology, you can appreciate why I am so tickled to have my new blog The Refrigerator Door. It took me less-than-two hours to create it. I even figured out the cool click-on-the-refrigerator-door-photo–and-be-in-my-fan-group ALL BY MYSELF! Dang! I did this whole thing ALL BY MYSELF! Me -- daughter of Ann Marie Landsiedel Maher, who resisted a dishwasher and electric-drip coffee maker; granddaughter of Lucille Marie Richards Landiedel, who wouldn’t use an electric curling iron to save her soul. I made a blog! And a blog fan group! Somehow this feels even bigger than my grandmother’s blue-lights-and-angel-hair Christmas Tree.
I am learning to accept that technology is here to stay; well, at least until it changes again in ten minutes. I have some catching up to do. That’s OK. I want to stay connected. I don’t want to join the Amish. I like the people who provide my daily news feed. I really, really like them! I want to read my Facebook Newsfeed and know about what all the sports fans, political activists, chocolate eaters and shock-jock radio listeners are doing this week. They're my friends -- from elementary school, college, my career as a journalist, my church, my sailing club. I see more of them with Facebook than I expected. At times it has felt like too much information. But I think I am over that adjustment period. I think I can take it now. If someone is really irritating, I just hide their status updates. I don't have to get worked up about it.
Now that I have my own little blog, I can wander out to Live News Feed Street knowing I have a cozy and warm cyber home of my own, my blog, The Refrigerator Door.
I don’t have much to offer the Facebook commentaries on the Super Bowl. But then, I've never had much to say about football. Some of my happiest memories are at sporting events, though. I wasn’t watching the games. I was watching the half-time shows and the peanut-vendors and, most of all, the happiness on the faces of the people who took me to the games -- my mother, my grandfather, old boyfriends. I can’t eat ice-cream sundaes myself because I can’t tolerate sugar. But I had the best time this evening watching my four-year-old niece eat a hot-fudge sundae at the Big Boy.
I am seeing more of people on Facebook – more of their family photos, recipes, political views, sporting loyalties, religious activities. Sometimes it seems to get a little mean spirited and sometimes I have wanted to fix everybody – to make people get along better, to make everyone more objective, to make people more JUST LIKE ME!
But, for today,I don’t have to fix anybody and I don’t have to become a sports fan or a hot-fudge sundae eater. I can be happy to have friends who are different from me. It would be a pretty boring world if everyone were like me.